Iris Apfel, renowned New York designer and style icon, dies aged 102 | Fashion

Iris Apfel, a renowned interior designer and fashion maker who achieved fame in her 80s, has died at the age of 102.

Stu Roser, a spokesperson for her estate, confirmed her death to multiple U.S. media outlets, but did not provide a cause of death. It is known that she passed away on Friday at her home in Palm Beach, Florida.

As a recognized authority on antique fabrics, Apfel consulted on restoration projects, including work at the White House.

The subject of several museum exhibitions and documentaries, Apfel has recently appeared in campaigns for H&M, eBay and Citroën, and even had a Barbie doll made in her likeness.

The bespectacled New Yorker had developed a personal style that was witty, effervescent and idiosyncratic. In her Instagram bio, which has amassed more than 2 million followers, she describes herself as “the world’s oldest living teenager” and writes, “More is more, less is boring.”

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In 2005, her personal collection of vintage and designer accessories and clothing was the subject of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The work, titled “Lara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” was the first time the Metropolitan Museum of Art focused on a living woman who was not a designer. In another of her first ventures, Apfel dressed the mannequin herself and styled it in her own glamorous way.

Colliding colors, textures, and prints, Apfel liked to pair designer pieces with more unique finds. His 18th century pasted earrings and Mexican hammered silver belt were showcased alongside couture pieces from Dior and James Galanos.

The response, mainly through word of mouth, was unprecedented. Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld attended the opening night, catapulting Apfel to fashion fame.

Due to the success of this exhibition, it traveled to other museums, including the Norton Museum of Art in Florida. In 2010, she bequeathed her entire Bird of Fashion collection to the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts.

Born Iris Burrell in Queens, New York in 1921, she studied art history at New York University and then attended art school at the University of Wisconsin.

Her first job was as a copywriter for Women’s Wear Daily. She later worked for interior designer Elinor Johnson and illustrator Robert Goodman.

In 1948 she married Karl Apfel. Two years later, they started a textile company, Old World Weavers, which they ran until their retirement in 1992. Their work included restoration projects for clients such as Greta Garbo and Estée Lauder, alongside work in the White Houses of nine presidents, including Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan. . And Mr. Clinton.

The couple, who specialized in replicating 17th, 18th, and 19th century fabrics, traveled extensively in search of fabrics not available in the United States.

In a 2015 interview with the Guardian, Apfel explained that this was one of the reasons she didn’t have children. “It wasn’t something we set out to do because I don’t believe in kids having nannies, but having kids is also like a ritual. It’s expected to be that way. . And I don’t like to be fixed.”

At 91, she became Dazed Magazine’s oldest cover star and signed with IMG, one of the world’s biggest modeling agencies, in 2019 after advice from designer Tommy Hilfiger. At the age of 101, she had her first successful beauty campaign when Ciaté collaborated with her London makeup line.

When asked about aging in a 2018 interview, Apfel said: No, that would be very boring. It would be like being caught in a time machine, a time warp. I don’t like it. I think variety is the spice of life. ”



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