If I were to say that I can introduce you to a 90-year-old woman who you wouldn’t be able to take your eyes off of, you might not believe me until you see Iris Apfel. A style (not fashion) icon with an eye for the bizarre and eccentric, Iris has made a life of collecting beautiful and odd things. Thanks to the late Albert Maysles (the famous documentarian who made Grey Gardens), we get an 80 minute glimpse behind those big, bold, round spectacles.
Now in her 90s, Iris has lived and aged incredibly well. She’s sharp, smart, and still has a good eye. She’s lived a lavish life and still does. Therefore, it’s very much a surprise when you learn how practical she is. She’s obviously well off; you would assume she doesn’t mind throwing money here and there, especially with all of the things she has. Yet she’s very stingy, always bargaining for a lower price.
It isn’t just with money that Iris is practical. She has a very reasonable outlook on fashion and style. While she dresses wildly differently from other people her age, she respects that there are people who don’t place as much importance on style and fashion as she does. One of my many favorite quotes from the documentary is when Iris says:
“It’s more important to be happy than well-dressed.”
Believe it or not, that coming from a fashion insider is a rare thing. It shows how grounded Iris is and makes her a million times more interesting.
Obviously, Iris’ day-to-day life isn’t always exciting, and kind of like her, you begin to find the quirkiness a little fatiguing. By that point though, the film, which never overreaches or gets too deep, is almost at its end.
Iris definitely caters to those vastly interested by style and fashion, but I think Iris as a person can be appreciated by everyone. Her outlook, not just on clothing, but on life is one to aspire to; it’s almost impossible to not be in awe of the life she has had and continues to live.
Iris is now playing in Chicago and other select theaters throughout the country.