The poster girl, renowned for her eclectic spin on style and her bold wardrobe, has teamed up with Australian-based fashion, accessories and homewares retailer Blue Illusion and is creating international waves. Iris stars in Blue Illusion’s ‘Ageless’ AW16 campaign, which was shot in her New York apartment featuring Blue Illusions’s French-inspired classic pieces, with Iris putting her signature print-on-print colour-clash spin on the collection.
“I like Blue Illusion because it’s timeless and ageless, which are two wonderful attributes,” she explained during the photo shoot. “I don’t think style has any age. It’s in your DNA and inherent. It’s a matter of attitude. I don’t think there is anything that I have put on today that couldn’t be worn by someone 60 years my junior or by someone my age.”
But while she may be gracious in extending ‘style’ to all ages – if you’ve got ‘inherent style’, that is – she is unapoloegtic about her views on the lacklustre style of today’s celebrities. “I don’t like the red carpet because everybody always looks the same,” she said in a recent interview with StyleCaster. “All the beautiful starlets – first of all, they don’t dress themselves, somebody dresses them. So they’re like mannequins. It’s not original. I like people who look original and who express what they are. You see, there’s always trends – it’s a showcase really for designer clothes, that’s what it is.”
Iris says there was a lot more stylish people in the past. “I used to love the way Pauline de Rothschild [and] Standard Oil heiress [Millicent Rogers] looked… very unusual, out-of-the-box women,” she told StyleCaster. “They always looked marvelous and they were very, very different.”
Iris, who was born in New York City in 1921, made her name as an interior designer with her husband, Carl Apfel. Together they founded the Old World Weavers, an interior design firm and textile company that decorated for the White House and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (she worked with the wives of nine presidents on the White House).
Iris cemented her international style icon status in 2005 when Harold Koda, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, heard about her costume jewellery collection and wanted to create a show out of her personal collection. The retrospective exhibition, “Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection, featured 40 objects, exploring the affinity between fashion and accessory designs and examining the power of dress and accessories to assert style above fashion, the individual above the collective.
The exhibition was a resounding success and led to Iris starring on fashion magazine covers, featuring in ad campaigns for MAC and Kate Spade and designing an accessories line. Recently, a documentary on her life, Iris was released by the late Albert Maysles.
She is also a distinguished authority on antique fabrics and textiles, fashion and a big collector of costume jewellery.
Check out Iris Arpel’s Ageless AW16 Blue Illusion campaign here.