“People like me because I’m different,” says Iris Apfel about several years ago in an interview for The Guardian. The 94-year-old fashion icon is one of the most popular and vivid ladies in the world. They call her Rara Avis, which comes from Latin and means a “rare bird”. And she truly is one in a million. You are going to recognise Iris Apfel by her oversized glasses, her electrical style, the enormous pieces of jewellery and her brutal sincerity. And we really like her because she is different. The thing that we could learn from hear are not a few at all. Here are several of the intriguing fashion-philosophy lessons that Iris unconditionally believes in.
It’s better to be happy than well dressed
“When I wake up in the morning, some days I feel a certain way, some days I feel another way. I’ll say I live by the Ten Commandments if that sounds good for you. But live and let live is my motto; I don’t sit and judge anybody. I always feel it’s better to be happy than well dressed. I go with my gut, I don’t do things intellectually.”
“I’m a practical person. Most fashion people live in the clouds, and they’re full of it. I live like a human being – or, I try to – and I have to be intelligent, I have to be practical. I’m a great believer in common sense, and the older I get I see that common sense is not that common. There are few people who have it – they may be intellectual, they may have great degrees, but they don’t know how to operate. It’s just ridiculous. You know, you’re here, you’ve got to improvise; every day is different.”
What, in fact, is technology? Do you actually need it that much?
“I’ve never seen anything like the way some young people behave. They go out on a date, and they’re sitting opposite each other at a table, and they’re not looking at each other, and they text each other as though they’re deaf-mutes. It’s insane. Or people go to a bar to make out you know, and then they’re there playing a game, it doesn’t make any sense. I try to be a sensible person and I don’t know why young people are like that… Technology is a wonderful thing but I think it’s violently misused… Technologically, I live in the 17th century; I don’t have a computer, I don’t have any of that stuff. I don’t look at the internet although I know people tell me I’m all over it. Somebody told me they Googled me and they said I was mentioned two million times, some stupid thing… but who cares? ”
Follow your dreams
“I always tell people to follow their dreams, to be true to themselves, and not just be carbon copies of what they think they should be, because then they’ll go through life miserable. And it’s phony. I don’t have a mantra or anything like that, I think you have to try and be yourself… More and more people live without soul, they’re just an empty shell.”
Do not conform!
“They say they want to be different and they all wear a uniform. I mean, in New York you can probably tell somebody’s zip code by what they are wearing. I think there’s more and more talk about individuality but there’s more and more conformity.”
Text: Fashion Inside