Iris Apfel, 93-Year-Old Style Goddess, Thinks Normcore Is Dumb as Hell

A friend has a theory that if you're a character in New York and "do stuff" long enough, you'll eventually become a known enough to be profiled in, say, the New York Times. Apparently Iris Apfel, 93-year-old style icon and lifelong interior designer, is a subscriber to this idea, too; in a new interview with the Times Magazine pegged to Albert Maysles' forthcoming documentary about her, she's essentially like yeah, you guys basically slept on me until I was an octogenarian.


"I'm doing nothing different than what I've done for the last 70-odd years," she tells the Times. "Maybe I was ahead of the game, and people caught up with me. There aren't too many 93-year-old cover girls around."

Known for her giant round glasses and knack for accessories, as of late Apfel has been a mainstay of the Advanced Style set, and a model for companies like Kate Spade, Alexis Bittar, and & Other Stories. In the Times portrait, she's wearing a grey leather dress with a flounce and ginormous necklaces that must weigh 50 pounds, but as ever with her, it's in the details: her manicure is pristine, the nails chalk-white. Unsurprisingly, she thinks normcore is a racket:

You're celebrated by designers for your eccentric style, but many of those same people tend to dress in low-profile ways. Why do you think that is? I mean, lots of people pay lip service to it, but they won't wear it. They're afraid. You gotta know yourself very well, and you have to be honest with what you can pull off. If you're not comfortable with it, no matter how marvelous the outfit is, you're gonna look like a jerk, because you're gonna be so uncomfortable. I think, given a choice, it's better to be unstylish but happy.

Have you heard of "normcore"? Normcore? What's that?

Basically, wearing the simplest, most lowbrow design possible. It's fashionable anti-fashion. Oh, please. I have nothing to do with that.

She's also got some excellent advice about fashion versus style, and how money is not a factor in this rubric: " The most stylish people I've seen in my life were in Naples right after the Second World War," she says, obviously, because goddamn if you haven't earned the right to wax on WWII if you're in your 90s. "They were all practically in tatters. But the way they threw themselves together and carried themselves, they really looked like a squillion dollars." May we all grow to be as graceful, wise, and badass as Ms. Apfel. Read the whole thing.

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I love her "Oh, please." I am going to start Oh, please-ing everything in sight.