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Inspiring Life Lessons From Legendary Iris Apfel

One King Lane


At an age when when most people would be long retired, the unstoppable force that is Iris can’t be contained. The self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet” became known for her one-of-kind, muse-worthy style, and is the subject of the documentary Iris. So lauded is her fashion point of view, the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated it in the 2005 exhibition “Rara Avis.” Since then, Iris has become synonymous with the world of fashion.


But beyond haute couture, Iris was a decorator and textile designer for the better part of her career. In 1950 she and her husband, Carl, opened Old World Weavers, a textile firm they ran until 1992, servicing everyone from Emily Post to Dorothy Draper. Iris also was responsible for many White House restorations, including those of the Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton administrations.


Ever curious, she globe-trotted her way through life, living from one experience to the next, and obsessively collecting along the way. As she told us, “My travels were fairly extensive. I feel very grateful I had the unusual opportunity of seeing the end of the Old World.”