The eccentric Iris Apfel, centenarian fashion icon, has passed away

This Friday, March 1st, the fashion icon and businesswoman Iris Apfel passed away at the age of 102 in her residence in Palm Beach, Florida. Initially announced through her official Instagram account, the news made headlines in The New York Times on Saturday morning. Born in Queens on August 29, 1921, the centenarian holds a significant place in the hearts of New Yorkers and more broadly in the world of fashion and the arts.



Voir cette publication sur Instagram


Une publication partagée par Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel)


Iris Apfel is one of those personalities with multiple lives. In her youth, she first studied art history at New York University and the University of Wisconsin. The young woman briefly turned to journalism, working as an editor for Women’s Wear Daily before venturing into interior design. Through an internship with interior designer Elinor Johnson, she learned to develop her unique visual sense.


Meanwhile, she met Carl Apfel in 1948, with whom she remained married until his passing in 2015. The couple also partnered in business and made a name for themselves in luxury textile production, participating in the design of the White House salons under the administrations of nine presidents.

Irreverent Icon


Throughout the years, Iris Apfel cultivated her sharp fashion sense, combining eclectic style with innate elegance. She became a figure in New York’s social scene thanks to her looks that never failed to capture attention.


Her extensive wardrobe is a testament to her rich life. Over the decades, Iris Apfel assembled a collection of designer pieces that fills two floors of her Park Avenue apartment. In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated an exhibition titled “Rara Avis,” offering visitors a glimpse into this monumental wardrobe.


Almost overnight, Iris Apfel became a global fashion celebrity,” writes The New York Times.


The exhibition was a success and opened new doors for the woman known for her iconic round glasses.


Major brands sought out her stylistic touch, leading to numerous eccentric collaborations. In 2016, she was invited by Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche for the “Iris in Paris” exhibition and to design a capsule collection. To celebrate her 100th birthday, she partnered with the brand H&M to create her dream pieces where prints and colors fearlessly multiplied.

© Le Bon Marché

Inspiring Figure


She who dubbed herself “the geriatric starlet” didn’t hesitate to challenge beauty standards. In 2019, she signed a modeling contract with the global agency IMG while Mattel unveiled a Barbie doll in her likeness. She graced magazine covers and shared her most extravagant outfits with 3.1 million followers on her Instagram account.


In 2018, she published the autobiographical work “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon,” in which she shared her worldview, life, and fashion through numerous anecdotes.


One day, someone told me, ‘You’re not pretty, and you never will be. But that’s okay. You have something much more important: you have style,‘” she liked to recount. Style, she undoubtedly demonstrated throughout her life. Iris Apfel leaves behind millions of people inspired by her nonconformity and zest for life, encouraged to embrace their individuality.




Featured Photo: © Gabriel de la Chapelle/Le Bon Marché, 2016


Luxus Magazine recommends

Luxus Magazine N°8

Now available