‘Geriatric Starlet’ Fashion Icon Iris Apfel Dies At 102

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Central Park Tower)

Mariane Angela Contributor
Font Size:

Fashion icon Iris Apfel passed away Friday at her Palm Beach home at the age of 102, TMZ reported.

Details surrounding her passing, including cause of death, have not been disclosed but reportedly relate to natural causes related to aging, according to TMZ.

“Iris Apfel was extraordinary. Working alongside her was the honor of a lifetime. I will miss her daily calls, always greeted with the familiar question: ‘What have you got for me today?’ Testament to her insatiable desire to work,” Apfel’s agent,” Lori Sale, said in a statement, Variety reported.

“She was a visionary in every sense of the word. She saw the world through a unique lens — one adorned with giant, distinctive spectacles that sat atop her nose. Through those lenses, she saw the world as a kaleidoscope of color, a canvas of patterns and prints. Her artistic eye transformed the mundane into the extraordinary and her ability to blend the unconventional with the elegant was nothing short of magical.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Iris Apfel (@iris.apfel)

Apfel’s journey in the fashion and design world began in Queens, N.Y., where her career took off at Women’s Wear Daily before venturing into interior design in the 1950s. Alongside her husband, Carl, who passed away in 2015, she co-founded a textile firm, Old World Weavers, according to Variety. Her penchant for collecting unique clothing and accessories led to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2005 exhibition, “Rara Avis: Selections From the Iris Apfel Collection,” marking the first time the museum dedicated an exhibition solely to a living individual’s wardrobe. (RELATED: Famous Designer Davide Renne Dies Nine Days After Starting Lead Role At Moschino, Company Says)

This exhibition catapulted her into stardom, making her a sought-after figure in countless articles, ad campaigns and a 2007 coffee table book, “Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel.”

Even in her late 90s, Apfel’s influence didn’t wane, signing a modeling contract with IMG at 97, Variety stated. Her legacy was further cemented when a film by American documentarian Albert Maysles premiered at the New York Film Festival in 2014, showcasing her life and style to a broader audience.