Iris Apfel on Dressing For Her Husband, Style Icons and Where She Buys Those Glasses
Even if you don't recognize Iris Apfel's name, you've probably seen her products at some of your favorite stores. After cultivating a successful interior designer career—and a loyal following of her eclectic sense of style—for several decades, the now-91 year old was approached a few years ago to create a line of jewelry for HSN. The collaboration catapulted her (and her signature oversized spectacles) to national-level fame and since, she's churned out a number of collections for various high profile brands.
In honor of one her latest projects, a line of furry handbags called "Extinctions," debuting at Bloomingdale's, the designer appeared at the chain's 59th Street flagship last Friday. After a quick sweep of the second floor's Sandro, Maje and Equipment sections—did you know like, EVERYTHING, is on sale right now?—I found the (legit) icon stationed next to a colorful display of plush carryalls, dressed in a oversized downy coat to match. Which lead me right to my very first question...
Lucky: The idea of "dressing for a man" versus "dressing for a woman" is bandied about a lot in fashion. Is this something you have ever thought about while getting dressed?
Iris: I dress for me. And my husband—if my husband doesn't like it, I won't wear it. Otherwise, if somebody else doesn't like it, it's their problem, not mine.
Would you wear something your husband doesn't like if he isn't there?
No, it's not that important.
Your glasses have become such an intrinsic part of your image—how many pairs do you have?
I haven't counted.
Well, I don't have that many anymore. I did have a huge amount and then, one day, I have some work done at my apartment in Palm Beach and they disappeared! But I don't count things, I'm not like that. I'm not organized—my head doesn't work that way.
Where do you buy them?
All over the place. But the original ones came from a flea market. And that's still where I find the best ones--you can't find them anymore.
Your closet is infamous for being packed full of amazing things. If there was a fire and you could only grab one piece, what would it be?
Oh I wouldn't know! If you have five children and there was a fire, which one would you grab?
So many girls regard you as a style icon, but who's personal style have you always admired?
Well, I've never been a hero worshiper. I did admire very much Pauline de Rothschild and the heiress of Standard Oil, Millicent Rogers. She was fabulous.
Tell me about your beauty routine.
I like MAC products, I did a line for them. I don't use a lot. I think as you get older, you should use less and less makeup. Unless you know how to apply it very artfully, you could end up looking like an old turtle.
Any skincare products you swear by?
I always use Cetaphil.
photo: WWD/Steve Eichner
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