Fashion Icon Iris Apfel Dead at 102

The New Yorker, whose signature style consisted of over-the-top accessories (including her trademark round-frame glasses), an electrifying red lip and colorful prints or pieces, first entered the fashion world as a copywriter for Women’s Wear Daily.

Early in her career, she also worked as an interior designer for Elinor Johnson, where she gained recognition for finding rare pieces.

It wasn’t until 1950 that she and her husband Carl Apfel, who passed in August 2015, started a textile company, Old World Weavers. 

In addition to running the company, Iris oversaw many restoration projects for the White House, working for nine presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

In 2005, Iris was honored for her individuality by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute with an exhibit titled Rara Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel. This marked the first time the museum had ever created a clothing or accessories exhibit on a living person who wasn’t a designer.

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