In the biographic documentary, Iris, we learn about the nonagenarian, Iris Apfel and how her iconic fashion sense makes younger women feel like aging can open the door to a new world of possibilities. The director, Albert Maysles, who unfortunately died not too long after the film’s release, captured the playful art of a woman who knows the value of accessorizing.
Sometimes I get frustrated by fashion. When I look into my closet, I think that I never have anything to wear. What I should be doing, is looking at my closet with the eyes of an artist. I have to get out of the box and let my imagination roam. I’ve learned from Iris, that you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to look good either. The film showed her amazing ability to haggle prices with merchants. The rest of us can go thrift shopping and find interesting treasures that can be manipulated. I have friends who do this brilliantly.
Most of all, Iris convinced me that fashion is wasted on the young. Young women tend to purchase clothing that everyone else wears for the sole purpose of fitting in. We take full advantage of being commodified robots, while crowing that we’re a land of individualism. When young women spend large amount of money on the same articles of clothing you end up with this:
Can you spot the individual? Me neither.
Not everyone can pull off Iris’s style, but isn’t it time to find something interesting about yourself and put it on display? I recommend watching this documentary for many reasons. Iris’s take on being herself is refreshing, but the moments with her late husband, Carl, really make audiences smile. After 60+ years of marriage, you can really feel the love between them. She also speaks candidly about the art of fashion and how we’ve lost “art” part of it. Below, I’ve listed my favorite quotes pulled from the film.
On wearing so much black: “It’s not style, it’s a uniform”
On her career choices: “Nothing I did, I intended to do. It just happened.”
On plastic surgery: “I think unless God gave you a nose like Pinocchio or you were in a fire or something terrible, why mess?”
“Life is gray and dull and you might as well have a little fun when you dress, to amuse people.”
Carl, Iris’s late husband: “Pretty talented wife, I think I’ll keep her.” Iris: Trade in value’s not so high.” (they have a laugh)
Today’s fashion designers: “[They have] no sense of history and no curiosity.”
“It’s better to be happy than well-dressed.”
“You really don’t own anything while you’re here, you just rent.”