IRIS is a new documentary by Albert Maysles that tells the story of 93-year old Iris Apfel. Maysles film takes viewers into her world and along her journey from interior decorator and world-traveler to fashion muse and style icon. You can catch an advance screening of IRIS at the USA Film Festival on Friday, April 24 (7:15pm) at the Angelika Theater at Mockingbird Station. Jan Strimple will conduct a Q&A with Iris Apfel after the film. When Iris was a young woman from Queens, New York, starting out in the fashion industry, Frieda Loehmann, founder of the famed department store, told her one day, “You're not pretty and you'll never be pretty, but it doesn't matter. You have something much better. You have style.” Iris is known for mixing patterns and colors and her love of statement jewelry. "I like individuality and it's lost these days," bemoans Apfel in the film. "There's so much sameness these days. Everything is homogenized. I hate it."
Click here for tickets* to see an advance screening of IRIS at the USA Film Festival on Friday, April 24 (7:15pm) at the Angelika Theater at Mockingbird Station. Jan Strimple will conduct a Q&A with Iris Apfel after the film.*After April 20, tickets must be purchased (cash only) at the door
In 1948, Iris married Carl Apfel. Two years later, they launched the textile firm Old World Weavers and ran it until they retired in 1992. From 1950 to 1992, Iris Apfel took part in several design restoration projects, including work at the White House for nine presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Ford, and Clinton. "The two greatest gifts in life are a sense of humor and curiosity," says Apfel in the film. Appel amassed a world-renown collection of costume jewelry and apparel throughout her travels around the world over the years, which eventually led to a collaboration with New York's Metropolitan Museum in 2005. The exhibition's upbeat success, organized by Stéphane Houy-Towner, prompted an initial traveling version of the exhibit at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, New York, and later at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
Iris has always followed the beat of her own drum, marching down her own path and like the Pied Piper - has always attracted a following of ardent admirers drawn to her for her fierceness and bravery. So, does she follow any fashion "rules"? "I don't have any rules because I would only be breaking them so it's a waste of time. (Style) isn't intellectual, it's all gut." And how does her devoted Carl feel about her obsession with fashion? In the film there's a scene where Iris takes Carl vintage shopping. He sits in a chair while Iris parades in and out of the dressing room to ask his opinion of outfits. "That's where my money goes, To buy my baby clothes." Carl croons. Then he looks at the camera and smirks, "It's either Iris or Uncle Sam..." I love Carl. And you will love Iris. I give the film two thumbs way up and encourage you to not only view this fascinating documentary but to take advantage of the opportunity to get up-close and personal with the legend herself.