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US businesswoman and fashion star Iris Apfel dies aged 102 | BreakingNews.ie

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Iris Apfel, a vivacious personality in the world of fashion, textiles and interior design, has died at the age of 102.

The self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet”, who was known for her more-is-more approach to style, became a viral sensation in her later years after the Metropolitan Museum of Art formed a hit exhibition from her eclectic wardrobe.

The 2005 exhibition put Apfel on the map and her fame was further elevated by a 2014 documentary titled Iris from filmmaker Albert Maysles, exploring the life and creativity of the style maven.

She was aged 97 when she signed a modelling contract with global agency IMG Models, who also represent models including Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss.

Apfel’s agent Lori Sale confirmed her death on Friday in a statement given to the PA news agency.

“Iris Apfel was extraordinary, working alongside her was the honour of a lifetime,” she said.

“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 colour, 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.”

Apfel’s death was also announced to her almost three million fans on Instagram, with a picture of the star sporting her renowned oversized round glasses.

Among those paying tribute was US designer Tommy Hilfiger, who praised Apfel as an “innovator and leader” in the world of textiles and style, who “will go down in history”.

In a statement given to PA, he said: “Iris Apfel has become a world-famous fashion icon because of her incredible talent not only as an artist, but as an influencer.

“She has had an amazing effect on so many people with her huge heart and magic touch with everyone she meets.”

Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and Ted Lasso actress Hannah Waddingham were also among those paying tribute, alongside US singer Lenny Kravitz, who said: “You mastered the art of living. Thank you for your energy and inspiration.”

Apfel was born in 1921 and studied art history at the New York University before attending the fine arts school at Wisconsin University.

During her career, Apfel founded international textile manufacturing company Old World Weavers in 1950 alongside her husband Carl, who died in 2015 aged 100.

She came to fame in the fashion world when she was in her 80s when her eclectic wardrobe formed the 2005 exhibition titled Rara Avis: Selections From The Iris Barrel Apfel Collection at the Costume Institute, which explored “the affinity between fashion and accessory designs” and examined “the power of dress and accessories to assert style above fashion”.

During her latter years, Apfel was also photographed by Bruce Weber for Italian Vogue magazine and featured in advertising campaigns including for Coach and Kate Spade.

Apfel often labelled herself the “accidental icon”, which later became the title of a book she published in 2018 which is full of her musings and anecdotes of life and style.

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