I had the privilege of hearing Iris Apfel speak at fall market. Iris and her husband Carl founded Old World Weavers, a textile company in 1950. The two of them ran it until it was purchased by Stark in 1992.
I am smitten with Isis, as was everyone in the room. Her wisdom and one liners were enchanting.
She is an inspiring role model.
When asked if she thought style was dead, Iris deadpanned, "No, but it's on life support!" Her advice to women: "Don't look too styled, you'll end up looking fake; there always needs to be something slightly off. Don't try to look like anyone else, or fit into anyone else's mold!"
Iris' grandparents settled on the lower east side of Manhattan; she moved to Queens (which at the time was considered the country). Being exposed to so much diversity at an early age informed Iris' sense of style.
"More is more and less is a bore"
Iris and Carl are lovers of textiles. They are travelers, adventurers, and philanthropists. The two of them are quick witted, and finding it funny that at this stage in their lives, they are busier than ever. Iris is a cover girl, runway model, and the face of MAC cosmetics. She has a line of accessories for HSN and Bendel's coming out, as well as many speaking engagements. All have made her a "geriatric starlet."
Iris told the funniest story:
They sold fabrics to many a president (9 to be exact) and society lady. Marjorie Merriweather Post was one of those ladies. She was decorating Hillwood, her home outside of Washington, DC, see my story here, and bought fabric and trim from Old World Weavers. Once they were hung, Iris and Carl got a call from Marjorie and she said, "Carl, how many balls should I be able to count in one yard of passementerie?" Carl thought fast and replied, "If I have a bowl of your cereal, how many raisins might I find floating in it?" Marjorie said, "Touché Carl!"
She reminds me a little of my grandmother. Nettie loved fashion and always bought the best she could afford. A simple black dress, cashmere sweater, Manolo Blahnik classic black heels, and a bag could be transformed in a myriad of ways with accessories.
What can I say? I've been "Apfelized"