Publisher Theme
Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Iris Apfel, legendary fashion icon and designer has died at age 102

Iris Apfel, the flamboyant and eccentric icon in the world of fashion has sadly passed away at the age of 102.

The news was confirmed on the businesswoman’s Instagram page, in a heartbreaking post to her 3 million followers.

Although no further information was given, it was confirmed that Apfel passed away on March 1 (Friday).

The post showed the self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet” posing in a stunning black and gold gown, while sporting her iconic oversized glasses, bold gold bangles, and distinctive white hair.

In a matter of hours, the post was flooded with tributes from fans and stars alike, with one person writing: “You have shown us and the fashion world that age is just a number. Thank you for being you and inspiring everyone. Rest in Fashion Iris girl.”

A second commented: “Rest in peace! You were an inspiration to us all with your unique and daring style! You will be missed.”

“She inspired so many women to be bold, and brave and truly authentic […] to ignore the number of years we have lived and view age as an opportunity to shine,” a third typed. “What a beautiful legacy.”


Iris Apfel has died at age 102


Famed US designer Tommy Hilfiger also paid tribute to the beloved “innovator and leader”.

“Iris Apfel has become a world-famous fashion icon because of her incredible talent not only as an artist, but as an influencer,” he said. “She has had an amazing effect on so many people with her huge heart and magic touch with everyone she meets.”

Her agent, Lori Sale, described her time with Apfel as “the honor of a lifetime”.

“I will miss her daily calls, always greeted with the familiar question: ‘What have you got for me today?’ Testament to her insatiable desire to work,” Sale said. “She was a visionary in every sense of the word. She saw the world through a unique lens – one adorned with giant, distinctive spectacles that sat atop her nose.

“Through those lenses, she saw the world as a kaleidoscope of color, a canvas of patterns and prints.

“Her artistic eye transformed the mundane into the extraordinary and her ability to blend the unconventional with the elegant was nothing short of magical.”

Born Iris Barrel on August 29, 1921, in Astoria, Queens, New York, she soon carved a niche for herself that transcends traditional definitions of fashion. Apfel’s career is a testament to her belief that fashion is not just about wearing clothes but about expressing one’s individuality and experiencing life to the fullest.

Despite studying history at New York University and attending art school at the University of Wisconsin, Apfel soon found success for her work as an interior designer. She also went on to co-found the textile firm Old World Weavers with her husband Carl Apfel in 1950.

This venture would quickly cement herself as a staple of the fashion world.

Iris Apfel

The pair became known for reproducing antique fabrics – a venture that saw Iris and Carl travel the world in pursuit of unique textiles. This exposure to global cultures and crafts deeply influenced her personal style, which is celebrated for its mixture of high-end designer pieces with street market finds.

Throughout her career in both fashion and various restoration projects, Apfel has served clients such as Greta Garbo and Estée Lauder

She also carried out multiple projects at the White House for nine presidents.

In her later years, she refused to slow down, and embraced her role as a public speaker and educator, sharing her insights on style, creativity, and aging with grace. As well as being a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, she would also become a professional model at the age of 97.

In 2015, she was asked by the BBC about how people of a certain age should dress, and responded: “If you can pull it off, it’s appropriate”.

Apfel had been honored multiple times throughout her life – in various ways.

In 2005, her unique approach to fashion caught the eye of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, leading to the 2005 exhibition Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection.

And in 2018, Mattel made a Barbie doll in her image.

Apfel enjoyed 67 years of marriage to her husband Carl, before his passing in 2015 at the age of 100.


Leave a Reply