Looks like you're using an older browser. For the best experience possible, please upgrade your browser or download a modern browser.
We recommend either of these free browsers: Firefox or Chrome
You must update your Flash version to view videos. http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer

#WCW: Iris Apfel


Meet Iris Apfel: nonagenarian style icon, documentary subject and one of J.Crew’s (and Jenna’s) absolute favorite human beings.

Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with Iris, and when I met her I soon came to find out that her personality is just as audacious and outspoken as her style. And while she has her own rules, she has no problem breaking them.”
Jenna
Photograph by Bryan Derballa.

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel by Eric Boman captures Iris's colorful style with over 300 photographs and illustrations, an introduction by the Costume Institute’s Harold Koda and an essay by Iris herself.

Photograph by Monica Schipper/Getty Images Entertainment.

With Iris director Albert Maysles, the documentary filmmaker behind the cult favorite Grey Gardens. Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.


ON HER FIRST FASHION MEMORY 

“My mother, Sadye, was very avant-garde and owned a fashion boutique that carried beautiful costume jewelry from the leading designers. As soon as I came home from school I was put right to work, but I loved it. I think hard work is the best thing for anybody.”
ON FILMING THE DOCUMENTARY IRIS 

“When Albert [Maysles] approached me, there was no script, no outline. It was blind faith on my part, but it all came together and became a great hit. There’s even something called Rotten Tomatoes, and we have a 98 percent rating. So I went from being a geriatric starlet to a real movie star.” 

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING AN INDIVIDUAL
“Too many people jump on the bandwagon and follow trends. There’s so much sameness now. It’s so boring.”
Iris
A spread from Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel.

ON THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
“Rolling with the punches. You’ve got to be true to yourself and willing to take chances. If you fall down, you get up and start all over again.”
Iris
Iris with her late husband, Carl. Photograph courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. 

Photograph by Keith Major/Contour by Getty Images. 


ON GETTING STARTED IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS 

“I drove myself crazy looking for a fabric that didn’t exist before I found a wonderful old weaver to make it for me—it was a big success. We made more samples and my husband Carl started calling on the big decorating firms carrying a bag of all the fabrics.”
ON MEETING FRIEDA LOEHMANN 

“Loehmann’s department store in Brooklyn was like Aladdin’s cave. One day when I was shopping, Mrs. Loehmann said to me, ‘Young lady, don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re pretty. You have something much better—you have style.’ ”

Iris wears the Collection Ratti tile coat from our fall/winter 2013 collection.  © 2015 J.Crew.

 


ON HOW SHE LIKES TO SHOP 

“I don’t enjoy going to a beautiful store and being waited on— that seems witless to me. It’s the thrill of the hunt that I like; I search and dig and find. I must have been a hunter-gatherer in my former existence.” 

ON HER STYLE ICON STATUS (AT AGE 94) 

“It’s lunacy. People carry on like I invented penicillin. I’m not any different than I was 70 years ago—older, of course, with more white hair—but I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m cool. I’m whatever I’m supposed to be, and it’s a lot of fun.” 

ON THE JOYS OF BEING A NONAGENARIAN 

“After 70, you can keep your shoes on at the airport. That and you don’t have to worry about how you look in a bikini, so you’ve got it made if you last long enough.” 



“IRIS IN PARIS” AT LE BON MARCHÉ RIVE GAUCHE

Now through April 16th, the iconic Paris department store is celebrating the life and style of Iris Apfel with a special exhibition, including window displays and an eight-piece, Iris-curated collection (think big sunglasses, chunky bracelets and a red Mongolian wool bag she designed herself).

At the Iris in Paris exhibition at Le Bon Marché. Photograph by Noa Griffel/BFA.com.

An Iris-themed store window at Le Bon Marché. Photograph by Noa Griffel/BFA.com.

Photograph by Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com.

To learn more about the Iris documentary, click here.

Shop our women’s collection here.
TAGS: personal style, womens, jenna lyons, wcw
BLOG HOME