POV is premiering Iris tonight.  The documentary came out in 2014 and I watched it over the weekend.  The film is about Iris Apfel.  Iris is a fashion icon and a legendary collector of fashion..

She was born in 1921, got married to Carl Apfel, ran a textile company, was an interior designer, traveled around the globe collecting everything and anything and became quite the starlet in her later years from an exhibition of her collections at the MET in 2005.

Iris never wanted to have kids.  She said you can’t do everything.  She wanted a career and she wanted to travel.  When her mom went back to work when she was ten she felt abandoned.  She did not want to do that to a children.  Iris said “sometimes something has to give and that could be you.”

In many ways Iris was ahead of her time and lived the life she wanted to based on the times she grew up in.  There were a few gems in the film that I took note of.

She says that “everything is now so homogenized.  I hate it.  Whatever.”

When it comes to her sense of style she says “it’s not intellectual.  It’s all gut.”

She said a famous clothes horse said it was about getting dressed for the party not going to the party.  I agree that there is definitely more truth to that.
Her mother said always buy a good simple black dress because you can always dress it up or dress it down.
She tells the story about Loehmans.  Mrs Loehmans said to her you aren’t pretty and you will never be pretty but you have what nobody else has.  You have style.
 She said “downtown everyone wears black.  It’s not style.  It’s a uniform.”
 You have to know when to haggle and how much to haggle.  It’s part of the game
 Color can raise the dead
When I want something I’m like a dog with a bone
History is connected to the clothes.  I totally agree with this.  You can look at clothes and they represent a time and place.
You don’t own anything while you are here.  You just rent
Really enjoyed the film.  Iris is 94 today.  Impressive human being.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Ellen Sing

    Thank you. I am going to watch it tonite on pbs. ( Finally husband is better and got the “ring pro doorbell”-the new improved version.)

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. Pranay Srinivasan


  3. ellen sing

    Interesting piece. Sorry I missed the exhibit at Peabody Essex museum, but since they are getting some of her pieces I will watch for a future show. I loved the way Iris accessorized and had the chutzpah to wear her ensembles. The fabrics of the old world weavers were beautiful. As Iris says, if the quality is lost all we will have is machine made inferior goods. She is certainly a character.