“Geriatric” American fashion icon Iris Apfel dies at 102

The death of a figure in New York fashion and design: American Iris Apfel died Friday March 1 at the age of 102, announced her official account on Instagram, of which she had become a star.

The eccentric icon had become a real star in the fashion world at over 80 years old.

Iris Apfel is photographed during her 100th birthday party at the Central Park Tower on September 9, 2021 in New York.

© Noam Galai / Getty Images via AFP

By: RFI with AFP


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She called herself the accidental icon.

Iris Apfel became a star when others were long retired, an idea she herself loathed: the self-proclaimed “ 

geriatric starlet

 ” from Queens had recently signed a collection for H&M, after multiple collaborations , including Citroën, Magnum, Happy Socks, MAC.

A form of consecration, she also inspired a Barbie doll in her image.


Iris Barrel Apfel, August 29, 1921 – March 1, 2024

 ,” we can read on the publication accompanied by a photo of her dressed in a long gold patterned dress and large black glasses.

She was still active on the network the day before.

With 2.9 million subscribers on Instagram, the centenarian still attended the presentations of great fashion designers, and paraded with her immense crimson smile in her wheelchair.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel)

Immediately recognizable by her short-cut white hair and her enormous round glasses, Iris Apfel made a sensational burst into the fashion world in 2005. Until then, with her husband Carl, she was at the head of a company that manufactured ancient inspired fabrics.

She also deals with interior decoration: the couple will also carry out restorations at the White House under six different presidents.

But then, in 2005, the very famous Metropoltan Museum of Art (Met) made him an American icon, then a global one, with a retrospective devoted to his extravagant wardrobe, in an exhibition put together urgently to replace another. .

Because for decades, she has amassed a collection of clothes from the greatest designers of the 20th century, which fill two floors of her Park Avenue apartment.

The Met draws from its extravagant wardrobe, with more than 80 outfits from both haute couture and flea markets.


Dare to be different


One day, someone told me

 : 'You're not pretty and you never will be. But that doesn't matter. You have something much more important: you have style,'" she used to tell.

Her style instantly became a trademark and she signed advertising contracts with cosmetics, automobile and other brands.

She signed her last modeling contract at 97 years old.

A fan of colorful silhouettes, Iris Apfel called on women to abandon the “ 

uniform of black tights or jeans with a sweater, ankle boots and a leather jacket


His mantra: “ 

dare to be different


His secret: never having stopped working.


Try new things.

Don’t be fooled by the age and the numbers


In 2016, she was simultaneously the subject of an exhibition at Bon Marché in Paris, the face of a new advertising campaign from Citroën and an Australian ready-to-wear brand, Blue Illusion.



was the subject of a 2014 documentary directed by Albert Maysles, “ 



In 2015, after 67 years of living together, she lost her husband, Carl, a textile industrialist, who died at the age of 100.

This native of New York passed away on Friday March 1st from causes which have not yet been specified, but given her state of mind, and despite her 102 years, it is difficult to say that she died of old age.


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