Apfel’s evolution into a fashion star was thanks to a 2005 exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Harold Koda, the curator of the New York museum at the time, had heard of Apfel’s jewelry and clothing collection. Apfel has dedicated several rooms in her apartment on New York City’s Park Avenue to her clothes. Creations by Dior, Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, Galanos and Ungaro hang next to flea market finds and items from department stores.
Koda worked his way through Apfel’s collection and finally transported around 300 items of clothing and several hundred accessories to the museum. The resulting exhibition was a huge success — and Apfel became a pop culture icon. There’s now even a series of Iris Apfel emojis.
Iris Apfel can pull off the most unusual looks
After her husband died in 2015, shortly before his 101st birthday, Apfel did not retire but instead launched various new projects. Among others, she designed jewelry for the elderly with integrated technology that checks the wearer’s health and alerts an ambulance in case of an emergency.
She’s irritated by the fact that older people have been largely forgotten by designers and has repeatedly pointed out that no older woman can identify with 15-year-old models. And so she ended up signing her first modeling contract at the age of 97.
The Best Quotes From Iris Apfel: The Style Icon And Queen of Color
So, without further ado, here are Iris’s inspiring quotes to get you pumped about your own brand.
1. “I’m not cute, and I’ll never be pretty, but that’s irrelevant.” I’ve got something even better for you. “I have a sense of style.”
Ms Apfel demonstrated in the 2015 documentary Iris that looking beautiful isn’t the ultimate goal; rather, looking like you have character should be.
2. “Life is grey and drab; you may as well have some fun in your clothes.”
Apfel showed us that you can either settle into a simple uniform that looks like everyone else’s, or you can live out loud and have a little fun while you’re here, as she wisely said in her documentary Iris.
3. “Experience is the only thing that can really replace it.” It helps if you have experience and are open to new experiences. That is extremely beneficial. Above all, you must be yourself, to be who you are, and to take the time to be transparent and truthful with yourself. That is what it all boils down to. You’ll never have great style if you don’t know yourself. You’ll never be able to really live. The biggest fashion faux pas, in my opinion, is not seeing yourself in the mirror.”
In a 2015 interview with Let’s Do More, Apfel explained that while sharing parts of yourself with others can be insecure, it’s preferable to reveal rather than conceal your eccentricities. Imagine if Apfel had passed up the first-ever statement necklace she was about to purchase. We’d have no idea how incredible she was on the inside.
4. “What I consider to be my style is not your style, and I’m not sure how you can describe it.” It’s something that, in its own unique way, reflects who you are.”
Apfel discussed her rare-bird style in an interview with One Kings Lane. Are you concerned that anyone would judge you based on your personal preferences? It doesn’t matter: you should teach yourself to conquer the feeling. You shouldn’t dilute yourself to make people feel more secure because your clothes express a part of you.
“I’m a hopeless romantic,” she says. I purchase items because I am enamoured with them. I never purchase anything simply because it is expensive. I used to tell my husband that I would take a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It’s as if it’s telling me a story… When I buy something, I need a physical reaction. A bolt of lightning is referred to as a coup de foudre. It’s a lot of fun to be knocked out like that!”
Iris Apfel’s documentary Iris reminded us that clothing is more than just what we wear on our backs. The bits that make our hearts do somersaults are the strongest.
6. “You must examine yourself in the mirror.” If it feels right, I know it’s right for me. I don’t dress to be noticed; I dress to express myself.”
Iris Apfel taught us in an interview with One Kings Lane that while it’s good to own something trendy and get compliments, the most important aspect of your style should be that it makes you happy.
7. “If having a sense of style is going to stress you out, don’t do it.” The most important thing is to feel at ease so you can go about your business. But I believe that if that is how people approach to style, they are missing out on a lot. They’re missing out on the whole creative process.”
In a 2015 interview with Vogue, Apfel demonstrated that style isn’t something to be afraid of but rather something to experiment with and enjoy. Don’t get too caught up in fashion codes, and just try to live your life to the fullest.
8. “Everything around me inspires me.” It’s not like I’m out on the moors or something like that romantic nonsense. I’m simply motivated by being alive and breathing, meeting and engaging with friends, doing stuff, and taking in what’s going on around me. “I believe that if more people did that, fashion would improve.”
In a 2015 interview with Let’s Do More, Apfel discussed where she gets her bold, live-out-loud style inspiration. And she clearly responds that she gets her ideas from her experiences in life. She encourages us to go out and try new things, engage with others, and share our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We can only develop a good sense of style that we are proud of and confident through learning and giving.
9. “I don’t follow any rules because I’d just violate them.”
Iris Apfel showed Iris that fashion laws don’t matter, even though they’re our own. Simply do what makes you happy!
“Finding out who you are is like putting yourself in a psychiatric ward, except there’s no one to rescue you.” It’s not comfortable at all. This morning, I talked with my nephew, and he told me one of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time: “Personal style is curiosity about oneself.”
Apfel said in a 2012 lecture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art that the more you let yourself explore and play, the more you’ll learn about yourself.
11. “I enjoy digging, searching, and discovering.” And if I’m out shopping… If it’s a piece of cloth, I pay attention to the threads. It’s not even close to being intellectual. There is no fee. It’s the emotional material that I need to feel in my gut about. Other than that, I’m at a loss for words.”
Apfel clarified that clothing and shopping are emotional stuff in a 2015 interview with Vogue. Focus on how you respond to the piece in question rather than rules and fads.