The best most of us can hope for on our 100th birthday is a letter from the Queen. But Iris Apfel – style muse, supermodel, fashion influencer and owner of the world’s biggest bug-eyed eyewear – celebrated by unveiling her first High Street clothing line with avant-garde H&M.
But then Iris is unrivaled as the world’s greatest century-old fashion dean: flamboyant, eccentric, maximalist, instantly recognizable by those specs and her expertly styled hair.
On his Instagram (2.1 million+ followers) is the slogan “more is more and less boring”. And judging by the new range above, this mantra has remained at the heart of its design ideas. What you wear and how you act, Iris believes, need not be determined by how many years you have been on the planet.
Iris Apfel (pictured) celebrates her milestone birthday with the release of a 36-piece collection with H&M
Iris has made a name for herself as one of America’s most prominent interior designers, working with the wives of nine presidents – from Harry Truman’s wife Bess to Hillary Clinton – when they wanted makeovers inside the White House.
But in 2005, at the age of 84, her career in fashion took off following an exhibition of her flamboyant personal style at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Since then, she appeared in adverts for major brands and department stores, including Macy’s, Citroën and Kate Spade, until at the age of 97, finally seeing her potential, she was caught up in the largest modeling agency in the world, IMG.
Her range for H&M is for people who “want to look a little different”, but don’t have a small fortune to spend on it.
“For me, it was perfect,” she says of a collaboration that emphasizes individualism. It might seem like a contradiction when it comes to the High Street, but it couldn’t be more true. The entire 36-piece collection is a wonderful attack on the senses.
Shirt and trousers, £69.99 each, top, £19.99 and shoes, £119.99, hm.com
Top, £39.99 and skirt, £119.99, hm.com; shoes, £195, russellandbromley.co.uk
Jacket, £119.99, top, £19.99, trousers, £79.99 and ring, £29.99, hm.com
Look at the turquoise blue jacquard suit with its oversized boxy jacket and wide trousers. Covered in tropical leaves, it has an iridescent sheen and is embellished with pearls.
Or try the satin pajama suit with its stunning black, red and blue print contrasting with patches of mustard yellow. The lilac ruffle jacket is brilliantly bonkers but very fun and comfortable to wear. Yes, it’s priced at £229, but it will look like you’ve spent a lot more than that.
The tropical print tiered skirt will be a great addition to your summer wardrobe. We’ve paired it here with the matching tropical print blouse, but if you’re not feeling so daring it can easily be dressed up with a simple cardigan or white shirt.
Shirt and trousers, £69.99 each, and earrings, £39.99, hm.com
Tunic, £79.99 and shoes, £119.99, hm.com
Jacket, £229.99 and trousers, £69.99, hm.com
You don’t have to be an eclectic dresser to enjoy the Iris range; all pieces can easily be separated and will work perfectly with your existing wardrobe.
And if you are wary of the color palette needed for sunglasses, then the black kaftan dress is for you. Accessories are fabulous too – think green frog brooches (£69.99) and beetle-embellished loafers (£149) – and are an easy way to add interest to an everyday outfit without sparking too much of looks.
‘I like the idea of going high and low. . . Now everything is so homogenized; everyone’s copying everyone else and there’s hardly anything new,” exclaims Iris, who’s there to make sure you don’t blend in with a sea of tiny floral dresses and denim jeans. this spring.
- Shop the Iris Apfel X H&M range, priced from £19.99 to £229.99, at hm.com from 31 March.