Via The Observer:
Iris Apfel is 88, a “geriatric starlet” (her own description) who has suddenly become a staple of hip New York life – photographed by Bruce Weber, admired by designers such as Isaac Mizrahi and Duro Olowu, featured in Paper magazine, Vogue and the New York Times, blown up beyond life-size in the window of Barneys department store. In the five years since a show of her clothes at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute was a word-of-mouth sensation, she has taken the world of style by storm. Her looks are now so legendary, so otherworldly, that many who first saw the exhibition assumed she was dead. Her nephew made a habit of taking friends to see it, and she gave him strict instructions: “If you hear anyone say I’m dead, tell them: ‘No, she’s very much alive and just walking around to save funeral expenses’”…
“People say: ‘You have inspired me, you’ve given me courage…’ They’ve gone so far as to say you’ve changed my life! And I would come back and say to my husband: ‘I can’t understand it – what kind of poor little life did she have if I had to come and change it?’” Her husband said she should ask. And sure enough, the next time someone said she’d changed her life, the fan was a 70-year-old lady in Florida. Apfel thanked her, then took her aside and said: “Would you mind very much explaining that to me?” So the woman did. She said that she’d never wanted to look just like everybody else, but she wasn’t sure how to do that without looking silly. Once she saw Apfel’s show, she knew, and what’s more, she said, “now that I’ve learned I don’t have to look like everybody else, I don’t have to think like everybody else”….
I suspect Apfel has become a more intriguing proposition with age and white hair, as if she and her clothes have evolved into an entirely new species – a “rare bird of fashion”, as the title of her book has it. And while she has advice to give if you ask for it, she recognises that not everyone can carry off such wonders as have erupted from her mind. “Doing your own thing is very good,” Apfel concludes, “if you have a thing to do.”
Read the full article here
posted by: Tricia Rock