timeline

born 1921

The instantly recognizable Iris Apfel, with her oversized, owlish glasses, is a style inspiration to generations, but her first inspiration was her mother. The fashion boutique owner had a more classical look than her playful {and often outlandish} daughter, but taught her the first and last thing of style ~ the value of a good accessory. From starting a vintage eyeglass collection at age 11 to her decades-in-the-making jewelry collection in her 90s, Iris knows less isn't always more {except in the case of skincare ~ she simply uses Cetaphil}.

The brightly plumaged "geriatric starlet" was a darling of style photographers when she was a young interior designer, running the much in-demand textile company she started with her husband of almost 70 years, but it wasn't until a Metropolitan Museum of Art showcased her personal clothing collection that she became an international sensation ... at the age of 84. The self-proclaimed "world's oldest teenager" now has several accessory and makeup lines to her name, a modeling gig, and a smash hit documentary, Iris ~ and has no plans to stop there.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Iris Apfel (16)

"Taste you can learn. But style is like charisma. You know it when you see it."

Iris Apfel's Exuberant Apartment | june 2011

"If you can't find it in New York, it doesn't exist."

New York doll | october 2011

"When I needed to wear glasses, I decided I'd wear glasses. All the better to see you with."

New York doll | october 2011

"My overnight took seven decades. Sometimes it's just the right time for things."

Rare Bird of Fashion—and Academia | january 2012

"Getting older ain't for sissies."

Iris Apfel | january 2012

"The worst fashion faux-pas is looking in the mirror and seeing somebody else."

The Age of Iris Apfel | november 2012

"Just because you get to a certain number doesn't mean you have to roll up into a ball and wait for the grim reaper."

The Age of Iris Apfel | november 2012

"I think getting dressed is wonderful and I love it, but there's a whole big world outside of the closet."

The Age of Iris Apfel | november 2012

"What's a guilty pleasure?"

Avant-Garde Diaries | november 2012

"It's all attitude. Attitude, attitude, attitude."

Rookie Editor Tavi Gevinson Talks To Style Icon Iris Apfel | august 2013

"I'm the world's oldest living teenager."

Rookie Editor Tavi Gevinson Talks To Style Icon Iris Apfel | august 2013

"Only one trip. Might as well live it up."

American Icon Iris Apfel | december 2013

"I've always liked vintage or things that look old. It makes me look better."

American Icon Iris Apfel | december 2013

"Have some mistakes that you love."

Refinery29 | march 2014

"I love clutter. I think being totally minimal shows a lack of history and soul."

Iris Apfel Doesn't Do Normcore | april 2015

"I think it's better to be happy and comfortable than well dressed."

Iris Apfel, Rare Bird | april 2015
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curated with care by Meghan Miller Brawley {september 2015}