Iris Apfel, “geriatric starlet” of fashion, dies at 102

(Washington) Iris Apfel, eccentric fashion icon in New York, subject of exhibitions and star of Instagram, died Friday at 102, announced her official account on the social network.

“Iris Barrel Apfel, August 29, 1921–1er March 2024,” we can read on the publication accompanied by a photo of her dressed in a long gold patterned dress and large black glasses. She was still active on the network the day before.

The self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet” from Queens had recently signed a collection for H&M, after multiple collaborations, notably with Citroën, Magnum, Happy Socks, MAC.

With 2.9 million subscribers on Instagram, the centenarian still attended the presentations of great fashion designers, and paraded with her immense crimson smile in her wheelchair.

Born in 1921 to a Jewish family in Queens, New York, Iris Apfel studied art history. An interior designer, she participated in White House renovations for nine presidents, from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.

For decades, she has amassed a collection of clothes from the greatest designers of the 20e century, which fill two floors of his Park Avenue apartment. In 2005, the Met Museum in New York devoted a retrospective to his wardrobe. For her famous jewelry, she said she got her supplies from Tiffany’s as well as from the Harlem bazaars.

“One day someone said to me: ‘You’re not pretty and you never will be. But it does not matter. You have something much more important: you have style,” she used to say.

In 2016, she was the subject of an exhibition at Bon Marché in Paris, the face of a new Citroën advertising campaign, as well as an Australian ready-to-wear brand, Blue Illusion.

This fashionista was the subject of a documentary in 2014 directed by Albert Maysles, Iris. In 2015, after 67 years of living together, she lost her husband, Carl, a textile industrialist, who died at the age of 100.

A fan of colorful silhouettes, Iris Apfel called on women to abandon the “uniform of black tights or jeans with a sweater, ankle boots and a leather jacket”.

His mantra: “dare to be different!” »

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