Trailblazing Trends: How Iris Apfel Redefined Fashion at Any Age

Trailblazing Trends: How Iris Apfel Redefined Fashion at Any Age

Trailblazing Trends: How Iris Apfel Redefined Fashion at Any Age
Trailblazing Trends: How Iris Apfel Redefined Fashion at Any Age

In the world of fashion, there are few names as iconic as Iris Apfel. With her signature oversized glasses and eclectic style, Apfel has become a symbol of ageless fashion and a beacon of inspiration for those who dare to be different. At 99 years old, she continues to redefine fashion norms and prove that style has no age limit.

Born in 1921, Apfel’s love for fashion began at a young age. She would accompany her mother on shopping trips and was fascinated by the beautiful fabrics and intricate designs. This early exposure to fashion sparked a lifelong passion that would eventually lead her to become one of the most influential figures in the industry.

In the 1950s, Apfel and her husband Carl launched Old World Weavers, a textile company that specialized in reproducing antique fabrics. Their unique designs caught the attention of high-profile clients, including the White House, where they worked on restoration projects for nine presidents. Despite her success in the textile industry, it wasn’t until her late 80s that Apfel became a household name in fashion.

In 2005, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City showcased Apfel’s personal collection of clothing and accessories in an exhibit titled “Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection”. The exhibit was a hit, and Apfel’s bold, eccentric style captivated the fashion world. Her ability to mix high-end designer pieces with flea market finds, and her fearless use of color and pattern, challenged traditional fashion norms and inspired a new generation of fashion enthusiasts.

Apfel’s impact on fashion extends beyond her personal style. She has used her platform to advocate for age inclusivity in the fashion industry, proving that style is not confined to youth. In 2018, at the age of 97, she became the oldest person to sign a modeling contract, joining IMG Models’ roster of talent. This groundbreaking move sent a powerful message to the fashion industry and society at large: age is just a number, and it should never limit one’s ability to express themselves through fashion.

Apfel’s influence can also be seen in the rise of “advanced style” – a movement that celebrates the sartorial choices of older individuals. This trend, popularized by Ari Seth Cohen’s blog and subsequent documentary, “Advanced Style”, showcases the fashion-forward seniors who, like Apfel, are redefining what it means to age stylishly.

Despite her many accomplishments, Apfel remains humble and continues to inspire with her zest for life and fashion. She once said, “I don’t have any rules because I would only be breaking them, so it’s a waste of time”. This mantra encapsulates her approach to fashion and life: unapologetically authentic and always true to herself.

In conclusion, Iris Apfel’s trailblazing journey in the fashion world is a testament to her fearless individuality and her refusal to be confined by societal norms. Her bold, eclectic style and her advocacy for age inclusivity have redefined fashion at any age. As she approaches her 100th birthday, Apfel continues to inspire and challenge us to embrace our uniqueness and express ourselves through fashion, no matter our age.

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