Close this search box.
The Universal Magazine

Iris Apfel, The Dean of Fashionistas, Has Left Us

The late designer Iris Apfel dressed in a magnificent feathered creation

Iris Apfel, an eccentric and esteemed figure in American fashion, took her final bow on Friday, March 1st at the age of 102.

Originally from a Jewish family in Queens, Iris Barrel made her debut in the fashion world as an editor for Women’s Wear Daily before embarking on a career as an interior decorator and co-founding Old World Weavers with her husband Carl Apfel. Together, they left their mark on the White House’s salons, working for nine American presidents!

Recognized for her bold approach to fashion, Iris daringly mixed chunky, whimsical jewelry with high-end jewelry pieces, refusing to conform to traditional age-related expectations. Her unique style earned her the honors of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005, during an exhibition celebrating her personal collection under the title Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection.

Always on the move, she collaborated with prestigious brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Kate Spade, and H&M, continually surprising fashion enthusiasts of all generations. Her influence extended well beyond fashion, with Iris Apfel sharing her life and style advice with her 2.9 million Instagram followers, where she remained very active until the eve of her death.

Iris Apfel leaves us with a powerful message: "Dare to be different". With a life marked by creativity, love, and a passion for color, she proved that one can live by their own rules, regardless of their age. Lenny Kravitz, among other celebrities, paid tribute to her unique "art of living", highlighting how Iris mastered this until her last breath.

Her strong, original, and singular style will be remembered for a long time, now unforgettable for millions of admirers around the world.