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Iris Apfel.

Who is this woman you may ask? What impact has she made in this well styled world?

Firstly, I call for respect. And no, it’s not because of all that ‘respect your elders’ jargon; it is purely and unequivocally because this woman is a legend. A legend in fashion and a legend amongst women.

For all of you who care, don’t know or have the slightest interest, Iris is 93 years of age and still dominating this industry that prides itself on youth. The result is spectacular.

culture iris apfel

It’s the influence of blogs like Advanced Style and individuals like Iris, that our perception of age in fashion is changing, and for the better.

Now, I want you to be really honest with yourself here and really think about your answer. How often does the prospect of aging excite you? Are you holding onto your “younger” years so much so your mental grip is in effect causing more physical scars than your age? Or as you swipe your card and bid farewell to last months pay, are you justifying the purchase with the thought that one day you could pass this on to your children rather than take it to your grave?

Fashion has always been something only attainable and wearable by the youthful. Somehow, deep in the psyche of society, we associate aging with a lack of style or really the care for it. But I don’t believe women or men for that matter, ever lose their taste. No one ever wants to look bad so why should age change this?


Iris is a true testament to success, as proven through the accomplishments of her and her husband, Carls’ business, Old World Weavers. A company that sourced and produced textiles from all over the world, here Iris honed her creative skills but also relished in the inspiration it gave her. Notably, Iris often speaks of the time when Frieda Loehmann, stopped her and said, “You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty. But, it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style.”

It is this style that influenced a call in 2005, one that also changed her position in fashion. Harold Koda, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, invited Iris to create a show using pieces from her own couture costume jewellery collection. The result was Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection, an exhibition styled by Iris with designer and vintage collected pieces form all over the world. What set this exhibition a part from the rest were not only Iris’s unique style, but also her attitude.


Now if you have ever seen or watched an interview with Iris, she can only be defined as fierce. A strong and individual woman who embodies a no-nonsense attitude and who whole heartedly believes that ‘style is attitude.’ Iris doesn’t follow rules- why have them, she believes, when you can only break them. But with her opinion on age within fashion, comes the most reasonable question – why do designers create for the young, when many of them can’t afford the luxury?

Iris Apfel inspires an immortal hope that any of us can go out in dignity and in style. Her image is a constant reminder of the gaping hole in the fashion industry and of a demographic of women neglected by so many designers. Girls will always chase fashion, but women, they are the ones who hold onto it and treasure it. They are the ones who embody the true vision of style.

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