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US designer Iris Apfel dies age 102

By Agence France-Presse Published Mar 02, 2024 11:40 am Updated Mar 04, 2024 8:17 am

Iris Apfel, a centenarian style icon from the New York borough of Queens immediately recognizable by her oversized owlish glasses, has died at age 102, according to her Instagram account.

The self-described "geriatric starlet," best known as a textile designer and fashion icon, reached peak fame only in her 80s and 90s.

A flamboyant interior designer, she was a fixture on front rows of Paris fashion shows for more than half a century.

Her cropped white hair, massive glasses, bright lipstick, and large-bead necklaces earned her kooky distinction among New York's glitterati.

Apfel filled two floors of her Park Avenue apartment with work by the great designers of the 20th century, amassed over her multiple decades of life.

New York's Metropolitan Museum staged the first major retrospective of her wardrobe in 2005, with Apfel admitting she was as likely to pick up interesting jewelry in a Harlem junk shop as in Tiffany's.

Never one to shy away from color or unconventional silhouettes, Apfel urged young women at one gathering to abandon the modern "uniform of black tights or jeans with a sweater, boots and a leather bomber jacket."

Instead, she told them to "dare to be different. Be yourselves, be individual.

"If you wear something and it doesn't work, don't worry," she quipped, "the style police are not going to arrest you." (AFP)