A life lived in full colour
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A life lived in full colour

Coco chanel once famously said, “Before you leave for the day…take one thing off…”

And its an adage I have long subscribed to. Even in the 80s when fashion resembled a luminous fallout zone and that ‘one thing’ was the smallest of the seven fluro bangles.

Now Ms Chanel has obviously never met New York’s, Iris Apfel. 

Iris Apfel

At 88 years old, this “Rare Bird of Fashion” wears colour sublimely fabulously in a vibrant and effervenet manner worthy of her status as ruling doyenne of finding your own style. 

Growing up in New York to a mother who “worshipped at the alter of accessories” and an eccentric decorator father who worked with legendary interior designer, Elsie de Wolfe. She was hardly going to be a wallflower. 

Iris and her hubby ran a textile company called Old World Weavers. Not only did this give them the opportunity to travel the world (in style on transatlantic steamers and european trains worthy of an Agatha Christie novel), working with some the finest craftsman and artisans of the fabric world, but these trips also gave her the opportunity to add to her huge collection of accessories and fashion along the way. 

Nothing was sacred, elephant head dresses worn as necklaces, chunks of turquoise turned into belts and flea market priest’s tunic masquering as formal coat (that BTW she had to wear when dining at the White House during Nixon’s reign as he supposedly never turned the heating on!!)

She wears her outfits (yes ‘outfits’ as ‘clothes’ does not do them justice) effortlessly with a class and pizzazz (yes, ‘pizzaz’ I know it hasnt been used in vernacular since Kylie did the Locomtion BUT heck its appropriate). Anyhoo, Iris embraces colour in such a wonderful way that is inspiration enough to get the most devout monochromaticists busting out the fluros.

And its not colour for colours sake or faux shock  like that awful gaga lady, she is all about finding your own personal area of flamboyance. 

“When you don’t dress like everybody else,
you don’t have to think like everybody else.” 


P.S. And one last note from the Guardian’s Jess Morley-Carter:
“She is far from immune from fashion snobbery, and has been known to rail against fat people wearing stretch jeans, and anyone at all wearing flip-flops”!

Awesome, I certainly hope jeggings are in her Room 101 too!!!


Further inspiration 
Mrs Lilien's Blog
An Albert Maysles documentary
Books
MAC created the Robin’s Egg eyeshadow and a Toco Toucan nail polish in her honour.

But if that’s not enough to consolidate her position in hallways of inspiration then howabout Jimmy Choo designing a shoe after you???

 

And in light of all that, some words to live by:

WARNING!
by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples’ gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.