Iris Apfel, World’s Oldest Fashion Icon, Dies at 102

On March 1, Iris Apfel, the world’s oldest fashion icon, who was popular for her pop and playful styling, died at the age of 102.

The cause of death has not been disclosed, but Stu Loeser, a spokesman for her estate, said she died Friday at her home in Palm Beach, Florida. Official Instagram of Iris, which has more than 3 million followers, also announced her obituary.


Iris Apfel(@iris.apfel)がシェアした投稿

Iris Barrel was born in Queens, New York in 1921. She studied art history at New York University and later attended the University of Wisconsin School of Art.

She began her career as a copywriter for Women’s Wear Daily and later gained experience working with prominent professionals such as interior designer Elinor Johnson and illustrator Robert Goodman.

In 1948, she married Carl Apfel, and together they founded the textile company Old World Weavers in 1950, which they ran successfully until their retirement in 1992. Their signature projects ranged from White House work for presidents to restoration projects for clients such as Greta Garbo and Estée Lauder.

On the other hand, it was not until she was already in her 80s that Iris achieved her current fame as a fashion icon. The bright and unique fashion style she had established as an interior designer and businesswoman conveyed a positive message about the joy of expressing oneself regardless of age, and her way of life has been supported by many people.

In recent years, she has been active in various fields, as an influencer and fashion icon. Her presence was featured in art museum exhibitions and documentaries, and she collaborated with brands such as H&M and eBay. She had even had Barbie dolls made in her likeness, showcasing her widespread influence and versatility.

In a previous interview with Vogue magazine, she responded to the question, “What would you say to somebody who wants to learn to express themselves authentically?” as follows: “First, they have to find themselves. You have to know who you are and then work at it. Style as a matter of attitude, attitude, attitude, but you have to possess individuality to have an attitude. You can’t be like everybody else and copy what everybody else is doing.”

“You must know who you are and stick to it—no flip-flopping and changing around every three seconds. You’ll find it’s hard work at the beginning, but it pays off. People should celebrate their originality and not want to be part of a herd.”

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