Friday, March 7, 2014


Photo courtesy of
It was the wise geriatric psychiatrist, the late Dr. Gene D. Cohen who said "social intelligence, memory and wisdom are fruits that age alone can ripen"

If there is one person who has captured this sentiment and taken it for a good run, it is Iris Apfel, the person who I would most like to meet.  Iris, who at age 84 became an international fashion icon and eight years later, is one of the busiest 92 year olds. As the face of MAC Cosmetics, she describes her life as a "delicious journey" and self-declares that she is the "oldest living broad to have ever graced the cosmetic industry".  She is a gorgeous fruit, ripened with age and there is nothing wrong with her memory.

My fantasy friend, my role model for what I want to be when I grow up, does not want to be known as an "empty-headed fashionista".  There is so much more to this woman who perceives dressing up as an exercise in creativity.  She's involved in charities, gives talks and museum shows, most specifically, the Metropolitan Museum of Art where her life in the limelight was born following a huge exhibit of her colorful and unique fashions and stunning pieces of costume jewelry.

Iris is a petite, white haired woman who's proud to tell her age.  Her clear blue eyes, so bright and visible behind her trademark, large, round, black framed glasses, let us know that she is celebrating her age. She's happy about herself and wants to give back because she feels that she has been blessed.

Iris and her husband started as interior designers, using their home in New York City as their office and showroom.  Together, they grew their business, specializing in textiles.  As "American Weavers" their company grew and they worked with nine presidents on historic restorations in the White House during their career. Social intelligence and wisdom have followed her over the years.

Nowadays, Iris continues to inspire whole populations of people who don't want to look like everybody else.  Each and every photo of this woman show her dressed in layers of vivid colors, draped in over-sized jewelry, always beautifully coiffed and made up.  Her hair is white as snow.  Her skin shows her age only in the fact that it does not appear to have been altered by cosmetic surgery or any modern answer to the defying one's age.  She hasn't any fear of media pressures that frighten so many women into looking so much like every other woman.  She believes in keeping her mind active and in staying in the company of young people and adds "being interested" to her list of wise suggestions for later life.  "If you are not interested, you can't be interesting" is how she explains it and, as we see from her manner of dress, she embraces individual expression as liberating, making one feel good.

When Iris Apfel was asked about her daily wardrobe choices, she hardly had to think.  Her answer was simple," I don't plan.  I get up, get dressed and put on whatever I feel like at that time."

Her biggest piece of advice to women?  "If God blessed you with an ample butt, that's a good thing but don't wear skinny jeans, 'cos it's not pretty"  Thank you Iris.  I needed to hear that.

1 comment:

  1. And I believe I've read heard this appreciation of Iris in your words ... great photo of her too. Carry on - she's a great role model.