Most 94 year olds are not active and contributing members of the fashion world. You don't do your first make-up campaign at 90, but such is the life of the amazingly stylish Iris Apfel. She's a born and bred New Yorker, whose idiosyncratic style and Mr. Magoo-size eyewear secured her a presence as one of the century's icons. Iris, originally an interior decorator, together with her husband, (who sadly passed away this year at the age of 100), started the textile company, Old World Weavers. Their work is present in private homes all over the United States, as well as in the White House, from Truman through to Kennedy.
She has inspired a 2005–6 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York , based entirely on her personal pieces, and without her influence we would likely not be seeing the rise of the senior supermodel: Joan Didion for Céline, Charlotte Rampling for Nars, Jessica Lange for Marc Jacobs Beauty, Joni Mitchell for Yves Saint Laurent. Apfel herself is the new face of Kate Spade.
Her famous quotes :
" You have to be interested. If you're not interested, you can't be interesting."
"If there was a choice on spending a lot of money on accessories or dress, I always chose accessories. I think jewellery can change an outfit more than anything else."
" I never felt pretty. I don't feel pretty now. I'm not a pretty person. I don't like pretty. So I don't feel badly. And I think it worked out well, because I found that all the girls I know who got by on their looks, as time went on and they faded, they were nothing. And they were very disappointed. When you're somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something, you have to do something. So you become a bit more interesting."
Not to be missed is the Albert Maysles documentary, IRIS. Now that Netflix has come to Portugal, (Disclosure: I don't get paid by them to mention their site !!), I signed up for the first free trial month and the first thing I saw was this documentary. It's funny, endearing, she's such an artist, composing new visions everyday, and expressing pure individuality. The guts to see this through, daily, at an age where most people are happy to sit on a porch, I find it so inspiring. Really, at the end of the day, our minds have to be challenged, and in this way we can indeed LIVE longer and produce so much more!
Yes, it takes courage to pave your own way down the path of life, but go for it!