Iris Apfel, fashion icon and ‘geriatric starlet,’ dead at 102

The iconic Iris Apfel has died. She was 102.

Her Instagram page announced the news Friday with a picture of Apfel smiling at the camera while posing in a black and gold gown. Her staple black glasses, red lips and nails completed the look.

“Iris Barrel Apfel, August 29, 1921 – March 1, 2024,” the photo was captioned.

The fashion icon died in her Florida home. (Credit too long, see caption)
No more information is known about her passing.

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for her estate, confirmed the news to the New York Times and further revealed that she died in her Palm Beach, Fla. home.

Her cause of death is still unknown.

Many quickly rushed to the interior designer’s social media to pay their respects.

Many faithful followers rushed to social media to pay their respects. Getty Images for Macy’s
In 2005, her eclectic and colorful style inspired a collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Getty Images for Central Park To

“An inspiration to us all 🕊️,” one social media user wrote, while another commented, “a legend icon angel 👼 wow ❤❤❤❤❤.”

A third one also shared, “Rest in peace to a true legend and style icon! You will be greatly missed but never forgotten!!! Thank you for inspiring me and so many others to authentically be ourselves💙💜💞💖”

“Thank you for inspiring us all in every way by being fully you❤Your message lives on as flamboyantly as your style❤,” a fourth one said.

Apfel was known for her colorful clothes, piled-on jewelry and oversized glasses — and it was this style that inspired a 2005 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, further catapulting her to style-icon status.

Before she became a style icon, Apfel was a copywriter, a textile mogul and interior designer. Getty Images for Central Park To
She also worked on several projects for the White House under nine different presidents. Iris Apfel/Instagram

However, she started her career as a copywriter for Women’s Wear Daily and interior designer Elinor Johnson.

In 1948, she married Carl Apfel and the couple started a textile firm, which they ran until they retired 44 years later. Carl died at the age of 100 in 2015.

Throughout her career, Apfel was part of several design restoration projects, most notably at the White House for nine presidents: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.


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Apfel signed her first modeling contract at 97 for IMG.
She had previously shut down the idea that older people need to dress more drab. Getty Images

Aside from designer and fashion icon, Apfel was a visiting professor at the Univesity of Texas- Austin. At 97 years old, she signed a modeling contract with IMG.

Apfel had previously talked to Page Six when she turned 100 in 2021, shutting down notions that older people need to dress more drab.

“I don’t think you have to wear sackcloth and ashes because you’re 80 years old,” she told us at the time. “I hate everybody looking the same.”