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US Designer, ‘Geriatric Starlet’ Iris Apfel passes away at age 102

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Iris Apfel, the renowned style maven hailing from Queens, New York, recognizable for her distinctive oversized owlish glasses, has passed away at the age of 102, as confirmed by her official Instagram account.

Apfel, often dubbed the “geriatric starlet,” gained prominence in her later years, particularly in her 80s and 90s, as a celebrated textile designer and fashion luminary. With a flamboyant flair, she became a fixture at Paris fashion shows for over five decades, captivating audiences with her cropped white hair, signature massive glasses, and vibrant wardrobe adorned with large-bead necklaces and bangles.

Her Park Avenue apartment, spanning two floors, served as a testament to her lifelong passion for design, housing an extensive collection amassed over decades from the most eminent designers of the 20th century.

Apfel’s influence extended far beyond the fashion realm, with her eclectic style inspiring a legion of admirers, including renowned designers like Alexander Wang and Isaac Mizrahi. Her unique approach to fashion was celebrated in a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005, followed by the acclaimed documentary “Iris” in 2014 and her autobiography “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon” in 2018.

An astute entrepreneur, Apfel collaborated with various brands throughout her career, leaving an indelible mark with ventures such as a Barbie doll modeled in her likeness, a collection on the Home Shopping Network, and a makeup line with MAC Cosmetics.

In her own words, Apfel advocated for embracing individuality and seizing new opportunities, regardless of age or societal norms. Alongside her husband Carl Apfel, with whom she co-owned Old World Weavers, she championed the restoration and sale of textiles, catering even to the White House.

Born Iris Barrel on August 29, 1921, in Queens, Apfel’s journey from a copywriter for Women’s Wear Daily to a revered style icon exemplified her unwavering commitment to creativity and self-expression. Her legacy lives on through her timeless wisdom and boundless passion for living a life filled with color and authenticity. Tributes from across the globe continue to pour in, underscoring the profound impact of Iris Apfel’s remarkable life and legacy.

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