Iconic American designer Iris Apfel dies at 102

The self-described "geriatric starlet" reached the peak of her fame between the 80s and 90s.

Iris Apfel, a fashion icon from Queens, New York City, famous for her enormous owl glasses, died at the age of 102, according to a post on her Instagram account.

"Iris Barrel Apfel, August 29, 1921 - March 1, 2024," the post says, accompanied by a photo of the designer in a long gold-print dress. The day before she passed she was active on that social media.


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The self-proclaimed "geriatric starlet" reached the peak of her fame in the 80s and 90s.

Born in 1921 to a Jewish family in Queens, Apfel studied art history. Additionally, as a flamboyant interior decorator, she helped renovate the White House for nine presidents, from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.

She recently worked on a collection for H&M, after a series of collaborations with brands such as Citroën, Magnum, Happy Socks and MAC.

She was an Instagram superstar with 2.9 million followers and a fixture in the front rows of Paris fashion shows for more than half a century.

Her short white hair, huge glasses, bright lipstick and large beaded necklaces earned her a quirky distinction among New York high society.

Apfel filled two floors of her Park Avenue apartment with art from the great designers of the 20th century, amassed over her many decades of life.

The Metropolitan Museum in New York organized the first major exhibition of her wardrobe in 2005 when Apfel admitted that she was prone to buying interesting jewelry at Harlem trinket shops like Tiffany's.

In 2014, the "fashionista" starred in the documentary, Iris, directed by Albert Maysles. In 2015, after 67 years together, she lost her husband Carl, who died at the age of 100.

Apfel, who never shied away from color or unconventional silhouettes, urged young women to abandon the modern "uniform of black tights or jeans with a sweater, boots and a leather bomber jacket."

Instead, she told them: "Dare to be different!"