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Remembering Iris Apfel: A Legacy of Fearless Living, Bold Fashion, and a Love for Life

Iris Apfel’s Enduring Legacy

The world has bid farewell to Iris Apfel, the quintessential style maven, who passed away at the age of 102. Her departure was mourned deeply within the fashion community and beyond, with her death being announced poignantly through an Instagram post that captured her iconic look—complete with her signature oversized spectacles. Her life’s timeline, marked from August 29, 1921, to March 1, 2024, reflects a century well-lived and richly adorned.

iris apfel

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Tributes Pour in for a Fashion Visionary

Renowned for her extraordinary impact and vibrant persona, Iris was celebrated by figures like designer Tommy Hilfiger, who revered her as a pioneering force in fashion—a “geriatric starlet” whose influence was profound and widespread. Her long-time agent, Lori Sale, remembered her as a relentless visionary who approached each day with an eagerness to create and inspire. The fashion world echoes with tributes, recognizing her not only for her artistic flair but for the indelible mark she left on those fortunate enough to cross her path.

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A Trailblazer in Fashion and Life

From her early days studying art history and fine arts to founding the global textile firm Old World Weavers, Iris Apfel was always ahead of her time. Her remarkable journey took a dazzling turn in her eighties when the Costume Institute showcased her unique wardrobe, celebrating her approach to fashion as an expression of individuality rather than a slave to trends. Iris’s philosophy extended beyond textiles and into life’s colorful tapestry, advocating for inclusivity and a ‘joie de vivre’ that cherished the brighter side of existence and open, fearless love.

Enhancing Fashion Inclusivity

Iris Apfel was a proponent of inclusive fashion long before it became a mainstream conversation. She criticized the industry’s narrow focus and advocated for designs that catered realistically to the diverse body types and ages of the actual consumer base, particularly highlighting the often-overlooked mature market. Her stance was that fashion should embrace all, creating styles that not only appeal but also serve the needs of a broader audience.

The Essence of Joie de Vivre According to Iris

For Iris, ‘joie de vivre’ was about embracing life with a zest and positivity that transcends the ordinary. She believed in appreciating life’s beauty without dwelling on the negatives, maintaining a cheerful outlook and a heartfelt kindness towards others. This philosophy was also mirrored in her view of love—bold, open, and heartfelt, enriching life with warmth and shared joys.

Reflections on Love and Life

Apfel saw love as one of life’s greatest joys, bringing a sense of warmth, security, and shared experience that was deeply fulfilling. Her views on love and living well resonate as a testament to her spirited approach to both life and fashion, leaving behind a legacy that encourages others to live boldly and with an open heart.

Iris Apfel’s story is a vibrant reminder that life is not just about what you wear, but how you wear it—with confidence, color, and an unyielding enthusiasm for every moment.