Iris: More Than Just a Fashion Documentary


The “Iris” promotional poster captures Iris Apfel’s vivacious and lively personality. Source: Magnolia Pictures.

“I like individuality. It’s so lost these days. So much sameness. Everything is homogenized. I hate it… Whatever,” 93-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel said in the documentary “Iris.” These words prove Apfel has not lost any of her distinctive style or passion to dress with flair over the years.

Apfel seems to have done it all: accessories from her personal collection were displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she collaborated with MAC Cosmetics in 2012 and she has joined forces with Internet sensations, including Tavi Gevinson of Rookie Mag and YouTuber Amanda Steele, for online content.

Directed by the late Albert Maysles, the intimate documentary captures Apfel’s young, lively spirit and zest for life.

The film includes footage of everything from Apfel mingling with Kanye West and famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber to the 93-year-old haggling at flea markets in Harlem and the celebration of her husband’s 100th birthday.

Maysles also goes behind the scenes with Iris and husband Carl Apfel in their residences in both New York City and Palm Beach, showcasing Iris’ vast and precious collections of vintage clothing, couture costume jewelry and countless tchotchkes.

While interviewed about the film, Weber said Apfel’s Palm Beach home is the “perfect place for two children.”

Apfel loves nothing more than to be festive and celebratory— she chooses to leave her Christmas decorations up for six to eight months of the year. The Palm Beach house that she and Carl share is also filled with stuffed animals and unique items collected over the course of their sixty-six year marriage.

When asked about how he felt about Iris when he first met her, Carl said, “There was just something about her, and it just got into me. It’s always there.”

“I figured he was cool, cuddly and he cooked Chinese, so I couldn’t do any better,” Iris said bluntly.

Along with her many other accomplishments, Apfel has built a successful business with The Home Shopping Network, selling pieces from her brand Rara Avis by Iris Apfel.

The “rare bird of fashion,” as she is now known, is a favorite among street style photographers, notable designers, Home Shopping Network viewers and young people alike.

There are few better ways to spend 80 minutes than watching Iris, an eye-opening and inspiring documentary about living life, finding happiness and following your passion.