Words of Wisdom and Doddering Charm Courtesy of Iris Apfel
Oct 24, 2011 - by Lester Brathwaite
Iris Apfel is a fashion icon. And she's 90 godddamn years old. Meaning that she can and will say whatever the hell she wants. In an amazing interview with The Daily Telegraph, Apfel gives her take on New York fashion, celebrity style and that time Lindsay Lohan asked her to be her Svengali. Hint: she said no.
On New York:
"I love London and Paris; they're very sophisticated, but not like New York. If you can't find it in New York, it doesn't exist."
On New York in the 50s:
"It was fabulous then, everyone looked beautiful."
On New York today:
"Now when I walk down Fifth Avenue in the summertime I just want to throw up. It seems that the fatter and uglier people are, the fewer clothes they wear. The shorts and flip-flops and tight jeans on butts that go from here to Poughkeepsie. I always say they should put people in jail for wearing clothes like that. Especially stretch jeans over size 10 -- they should be outlawed. Ten years ago people were starting to look like slobs in New York, now it's an epidemic."
On London style:
"I haven't been in London for some years but the last time I was there they looked fuddy-duddy and school-marmish, yes, but not slobby. And then there are the wonderful eccentrics like the kids on Carnaby Street or the punks or whatever the heck they are."
On meeting Duke Ellington:
"The Duke couldn't have been nicer and said he'd introduce me to all the greats in Chicago. My mother was very dubious, so I told her, 'He's the most elegant gentleman.' She said, 'I don't give a damn how elegant he is, you're not going to Chicago.' But I did."
"I used to smoke like a fiend. I smoked four packs a day. I never do anything half-arsed, shall we say, but I stopped because I felt I was getting to be an addict. I've got very good willpower."
On being asked to be Lindsay's style guru:
"I can't tell people how to have style. No amount of money can buy you style. It's just instinctive."
On her 2005 exhibit at The Met:
'It didn't start out as a fashion show, but he [Harold Koda, curator of the Costume Institute] decided that to show accessories out of context didn't make much sense so he asked if I could spare maybe five outfits I said yes, so they went through all my closets, all the drawers, all the boxes, all the armoires, under the bed, everywhere and they go woowoowoooo [she flaps her arms up and down]. Finally they ended up with 82 outfits. It was insanity but the show was such a big smash."
On her signature glasses:
"When I needed to wear glasses, I decided I'd wear glasses. All the better to see you with.'"
On kids these days:
"Most of the young people today look dreadful."
On stars these days:
"And celebrities look even worse. They don't know what to do with themselves. At the Golden Globes and Oscars they all look alike - it seems like they're all wearing the same nightgown and this year nobody had any jewellery at all. Only Helen Mirren was wearing a beautiful necklace, but even she got it wrong because the necklace just ruined the dress. I think the designer must have wanted to kill himself when he saw her."
On throwing shade:
"It's a free country -- if you want to look like a freak, that's your problem."