Iris Apfel, Prominent Designer Dies at 102 of Unknown Reasons!

She rose to prominence in the fashion industry during the 1980s and 1990s, and a successful exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art featured her extremely eclectic wardrobe.

Friday marked the death of Iris Apfel in her Palm Beach, Florida, home. Apfel, a New York society matron and interior designer whose late-life bohemian style fused haute couture and hippie vintage, discovered treasures in flea markets, and delighted in contradictions, stunned the world of conventional fashion. At the time, she was 102. A spokesperson for her estate, Stu Loeser, confirmed her passing.

Iris Apfel’s Fashion Trends

Ms. Apfel, who referred to herself as a “geriatric starlet,” established fashion trends with boisterous, irreverent ensembles during the 1980s and 1990s: a boxy, multicolored Bill Blass jacket paired with a tinted Hopi dancing skirt and hairy goatskin boots; a fluffy evening coat comprised of red and green rooster feathers complemented by knee-length suede pants; and a rose angora sweater set complemented by a 19th-century Chinese brocade panel skirt.

Iris Apfel, Prominent Designer Dies at 102 of Unknown Reasons!

Her intentionally eclectic accessories included a necklace of jade beads that dangled to the knees, a jeweled mask, a terrier-shaped tin handbag, furry scarves that encircled her neck like a pile of pythons, and, above all else, her signature armloads of bangles and saucer-sized owlish spectacles.

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She was petite yet slender, adorned with scarlet gashes on her lips and fingernails and standing atop the fashion week models; she also performed authentic Noo Yawk haggling in a souk in Tunisia or a shop in Harlem. Attire such as a cape adorned with fuchsia satin Yves Saint Laurent boots and thigh-high adorning duck feathers were criticized by numerous individuals as ostentatious, eccentric, peculiar, and even offensive.

Ms. Apfel Created Interior Design for Well-known Customers

Beginning in the 1950s, Ms. Apfel spent many years creating interior designs for high-profile clients like Greta Garbo and Estée Lauder. She established Old World Weavers with her husband Carl Apfel, selling and restoring textiles—many of which were in the White House—and doing restoration work. The Apfels searched for textile designs in bazaars and museums all around the world. In addition, she constantly added to her enormous garment collections at her Manhattan Park Avenue mansion.

In 1992, the Apfels decided to sell their business and retire, but she remained a consultant to the company and the otherworldly woman-about-town, a free-spirited, soaring spirit who defied the runway’s rules in favor of her own deliberately clashing looks that were well-known in society and among fashion elites.