5 Life Lessons From Iris Apfel

Eccentric and wisecracking fashion icon, 93-year-old Iris Apfel shares her views on style, love and growing old in the late Albert Maysles last documentary – out in cinemas now. Here’s what we learnt from the self-confessed ‘geriatric starlet’:

1. “To me it’s not intellectual, it’s all gut”

Just as content haggling for $8 bracelets in Harlem as she is shopping designer collections, Iris preaches dressing from the heart – and trusting your gut. Her architectural approach to stacking up necklaces and bangles and affinity for colour and print are the cornerstones of her offbeat style – landing her a sell-out solo show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005. Our favourite piece? Look out for the mad jacket she picks up in a Palm Beach vintage store – serious ’80s vibes.

2. “If you hang around long enough, everything comes back”

Iris takes hoarding to the next level – collecting anything from antique furniture found on her travels with husband Carl, to funny stuffed animals that make her smile. The lesson here? Life is short, so hold on to things that make you happy. If nothing else, you will have a vintage wardrobe to die for.

3. “Colour can raise the dead”

“They all wear black, it’s not style  – it’s a uniform,” says Iris on New Yorkers; “life is grey and dull, you might as well have fun with the way you dress and amuse people.” We love the idea of dressing to make other people happy, even if we’re not quite ready to let go of our trusty black skinnies just yet…

4. “It’s better to be happy than well dressed”

Iris’s husband Carl turns 100 during filming and she throws him a birthday party. They discuss yoghurt flavours on a park bench. She buys him a snapback. These are the important things in life – not clothes.

5. “I couldn’t be friends with anyone who wasn’t curious and didn’t have a sense of humour”

Iris has some very cool friends. Watching her flirt with Kanye (yes, you heard) and fangirl over J Crew with Jenna Lyons is fun, but it is her interactions with long-term pals Bruce Weber and Albert Maysles that made us realise how important it is to surround yourself with like-minded, creative people. Iris – we salute you.

Iris is out in cinemas now. Watch the trailer here.