If you’re at a loose end this weekend and you haven’t yet seen this film, it’s a brilliant way to fill a soggy afternoon. Apfel’s husband – and co-star in the movie – died earlier this month which makes their sweet relationship in the film even more poignant. It’s seriously life-affirming stuff.
Even if you’ve never heard of Iris Apfel her distinctive look will probably be familiar. The nonagenarian New Yorker is a streetstyle star who dresses in zany assemblages that make even the most vibrant Slim Aarons images look decidedly dull. Her passion for crazy prints and unusual combinations is matched only by her obsession with stacks of showstopping costume jewellery and it’s all topped off with her signature oversized Mr Magoo glasses. She’s nothing short of spectacular. But as Albert Maysles’ (Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter) documentary film, Iris, amply illustrates, Apfel is not only a stylistic one-off, she’s also a wise-cracking New Yorker with a talent for a deadpan one-liner and, at 93, still a force of nature. Ten years ago the Met museum held a retrospective of Apfel’s wardrobe – it was a sleeper hit and turned her into something of a star. Now she fronts ad campaigns, designs collections and fends off fans and friends who include such notables as Dries van Noten and Bruce Weber. Apfel is of course much more than just a clothes horse – she’s an interior designer – who went on epic globe-trotting buying trips with her late husband Carl, and formed a rare textile firm called Old World Weavers whose clients included the White House. Maysles’ charming film (which was also his last as he also died earlier this year) is a reminder of what real style is all about.