At 94 years old, one of New York’s most outspoken personalities has found herself in the fashion spotlight as the face of not one but two brands: Australian fashion label Blue Illusion and the new DS 3 car in the UK and France.

Iris Apfel for Kate Spade

Iris Apfel for Kate Spade

Why is the allure of the queen of one-liners still so strong? Because she is a fearless sartorialist who isn’t afraid to say it as it is. Here’s life according to Iris…

On her spontaneous style

“I’m not just some empty-headed fashionista who thinks about nothing but getting dressed… People ask me all the time about what I think when I get up in the morning and plan an outfit – my goodness, if I did that I would have to kill myself!”

On ageing

“If you live to a ripe old age it should be celebrated not shunned. You have to think positively and not curl up in a ball because you’re ageing. I think it’s a blessing when you age… I’m happy to tell people that I’m in my nineties.”

On her mother

“(She) was very chic and dressed beautifully; my mother worshipped at the altar of the accessory and she taught me that if you can have one good little black dress and a lot of accessories… you can have umpteen outfits. 

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On travel

“I did fall madly in love with North Africa and the Middle East because my tastes go to the exotic. I think it has to do with the fact that a lot of ethnic clothing is very architectural and the colours from all these different places are so sophisticated.”

On her trademark glasses

“People say, well why do you wear such big ones and I say, ‘the bigger to see you with.’”

On taking risks

“If you put something on and it doesn’t look good, the fashion police aren’t going to come and take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail. The fun of getting dressed is that it’s a creative experience.”

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On accessories

“I love accessories – for me they are the most important part of my wardrobe.”

On influential people

“If it wasn’t for [fashion photographer] Bill (Cunningham) I would not be a geriatric starlet – he put me on the map.”

iris apfel

Iris Apfel is a major fashion icon, even at 94.

On the cosmetics industry

“I was the oldest living broad to be given a cosmetics contract; and my collaboration with M.A.C was hideously successful.”

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On relaxing at home

“There’s nothing like a good old bathrobe.”

On the pressure to dress well

“When the fun goes out of it, you might as well be dead. You need to pursue your own fancy.”

On young people

“I think they could be a little bit more well groomed. Their hair doesn’t look neat, they look like they are all messed up. I think they should study themselves a little more and not wear something that’s in fashion because it’s in fashion.”

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On experimenting

“Sometimes something that costs very little goes splendidly with something that costs a lot. I just put things together the way the spirit moves me.”

On finding your own sense of style

“Style is something that’s integral – it’s part of you, part of your psyche. It’s like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch; you have to study yourself and I think that requires some hard work, which a lot of people don’t want to do.”

On life
“You only have one trip, you might as well enjoy it!”

Iris Apfel for Kate Spade

Iris Apfel modelling wearable technology

Images: Getty and Instagram