Iris Apfel, fashion icon, interior designer, dies at 102

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Iris Apfel sits for a portrait during her 100th Birthday Party at Central Park Tower on September 09, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Central Park Tower)

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Iris Apfel, an interior designer and icon in the fashion world, has died at the age of 102.

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A spokesman for Apfel’s estate, Stu Loeser, confirmed her death, according to The New York Times. Her death was also confirmed by her commercial agent, Lori Sale, according to The Associated Press.

She died at her house on Friday in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the Times. No cause of death has been released.

“Iris Apfel was extraordinary. Working alongside her was the honor of a lifetime. I will miss her daily calls, always greeted with the familiar question: ‘What have you got for me today?’ Testament to her insatiable desire to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the word. She saw the world through a unique lens – one adorned with giant, distinctive spectacles that sat atop her nose. Through those lenses, she saw the world as a kaleidoscope of color, a canvas of patterns and prints. Her artistic eye transformed the mundane into the extraordinary and her ability to blend the unconventional with the elegant was nothing short of magical,” Sale said in a statement obtained by Variety.

Apfel was born on Aug. 29, 1921. She studied art history at New York University and art at the University of Wisconsin, the Times reported. She worked with Women’s Wear Daily. Apfel married Carl Apfel in 1948. He died in 2015 at the age of 100. The couple had no children.

She was known for her “eye-catching outfits, mixing haute couture and oversized jewelry,” according to the AP. She stood out at almost every fashion show with her black-rimmed glasses.

Apfel’s style was part of museum exhibits and the movie, “Iris,” which was directed by Albert Maysles, the AP reported.

“I’m not pretty, and I’ll never be pretty, but it doesn’t matter,” she once said. “I have something much better. I have style.”

She started interior design in the 1950s for clients like Estée Lauder. and Greta Garbo, the Times reported. She founded Old World Weavers alongside her husband. The company cold restored textiles including some that ended up in the White House.

The company was sold in 1992 and the couple retired. Apfel continued to work as a consultant the newspaper reported.

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