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Fashion icon Iris Apfel: Celebrities pay tribute to fashion’s boldest muse

One of the fashion world's boldest muses has died at 102 years old.

Style icon Iris Apfel has died at 102 years old.

The news was announced on Instagram on March 1 on Apfel's official Instagram page. “Iris Barrel Apfel. August 29, 1921–March 1, 2024,” the photo caption read. The picture featured her in a billowing black dress with glittering gold details, a large statement collar, and a pair of her signature round glasses. This particular pair featured unique 100-shaped frames.

“Iris Apfel was extraordinary, working alongside her was the honor of a lifetime,” Apfel's agent, Lori Sale, said in a statement, per the Associated Press. “I will miss her daily calls, always greeted with the familiar question: ‘What have you got for me today?’ Testament to her insatiable desire to work. She was a visionary in every sense of the word. She saw the world through a unique lens—one adorned with giant, distinctive spectacles that sat atop her nose. Through those lenses, she saw the world as a kaleidoscope of color, a canvas of patterns and prints.”

Apfel founded the international textile manufacturing company Old World Weavers in 1950 with her late husband, Carl Apfel. She later caught the eye of the fashion world for her bold style and bolder personality, well known for mixing larger-than-life silhouettes with even bigger baubles. She was rarely seen without a pair of round glasses or a red lip. In 2005 her sense of style was celebrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in a show titled “Rara Avis,” Latin for “rare bird.”

“More is more & less is a bore,” read the bio of her Instagram account, which is currently followed by 3 million users. After her death, celebrities in and out of the fashion world celebrated the late icon on social media. Here's what designers, Hollywood stars, and editors had to say about Iris Apfel's legacy.

Tommy Hilfiger

“My wife Dee and I were incredibly blessed to have met and spent time with Iris in the last few years both in Palm Beach and in New York,” the American designer said in a statement to Women's Wear Daily. “She was an absolute inspiration and had impeccable style as well as a great appetite and appreciation for everything fashion. She had an incredible presence and aura and always held court wherever she was. We were also honored to participate with her in her mentoring programs she headed for many years with fashion students from the University of Texas. She will be greatly missed, and it is a huge loss for the entire fashion community.”

Tommy Hilfiger with Iris Apfel at her 100th-birthday party at Central Park Tower on September 09, 2021.

Donna Karan

“Iris Apfel had a passion for fashion like no other person,” the founder of DKNY wrote alongside a photo with Apfel from her 100th-birthday party in 2021. “If I’d have to name who the best dressed woman in the world is, it would be Iris. From head to toe with color, jewelry, and the most beautiful little details, no one understood style like she did.

“She inspired me to do color and more color instead of my usual black and white!” she continued. “The love that surrounded her will be with her forever and ever. I’m so grateful to have known Iris and her wisdom that she shared with us. This isn’t a goodbye, it is a see you later. You’ll always be in my heart Iris with beautiful memories and I can’t thank you enough for that.”

Lily Collins

“What a woman. What a legend. What a life,” Lily Collins wrote in an Instagram story. “I had the pleasure of wearing her designs on Emily in Paris and honor of being able to express my admiration for her influence. Your style will live on Iris Apfel and your legacy forever celebrated.”

Lily Collins wears the Iris Apfel x H&M collection in season three of Emily in Paris.

Jenna Lyons

“Rest in peace,” Lyons wrote to the “icon” in an Instagram story. She also reshared a photo with Apfel from the Real Housewives of New York star's days as the executive creative director and president of J.Crew.

She also commented on Apfel's post, “Thank you for sharing your beautiful life.”

Lenny Kravitz

“You mastered the art of living,” the singer wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for your energy and inspiration.”

Maria Shriver

Shriver also paid tribute to Apfel on “Wow! What a truly remarkable life #IrisApfel lived. She truly did it all: She was a businesswoman, she was a fashion model, she was a fashion icon, she was a college professor, she was a star of a documentary, she was a Barbie doll! Iris is truly proof that age is just a number.”

Hannah Waddingham

“Ohhhhhh. Goodnight and God bless Ma’am,” the Ted Lasso star commented on Instagram. “What joy and endless style you brought to so many. ❤️❤️.”

Carla Rockmore

The jewelry designer and style influencer described Apfel as her “forever muse,” writing, “You kept the world bright for 102 years. If I can continue to share only a fraction of your glow, it is in your honor.”

Tess Holliday

“Rest in power,” the model and fashion influencer wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for living your life so beautifully & inspiring so many of us to live boldly.”

Deborah Roberts

“The world has lost a fabulous vision of fun and inspiration,” the ABC anchor and journalist wrote on “Iris Apfel caught eyes everywhere with those signature glasses and bold outfits. She was 102. She said while she may not be pretty, she had 'style.' What a life!”

Original article appeared on GLAMOUR US

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