I finally took myself to the cinema to see ‘Iris‘ – the documentary by the late Albert Maysles about colourful, creative and quick-witted Iris Apfel.
At 94, Iris Apfel has simply incredible energy levels and insight. If you’re not familiar with her, check her out online – her eclectic sartorial style is definitely worth being aware of, whether you love it or hate it.
What’s particularly inspiring about Iris Apfel is that even at 94, she is so sassy, bold and has no desire to disappear into the background. This attitude is in stark contrast to many women even half her age, who do so because they withdraw from engaging with the world, their self-confidence plummets or because they think our society is finished with them and expects them to be less visible.
Sadly these beliefs then become evident in what women wear. A woman who doesn’t value herself reflects this in what she wears, albeit sub-consciously. Our clothing says so very much about how we feel inside. On the other hand, clothing can do a lot to enhance our mood or help us to see ourselves in a different light. Actors understand how transformative clothes can be and how they can help them to take on different characters. Iris Apfel understands how clothes can transform how a person feels about themselves and genuinely loves experimenting with outfit design and construction both on herself and on others.
Of herself, Iris says she was never pretty, and doesn’t care for ‘pretty’ but she seems to have always had a strong sense of presence; she knows what she likes, appreciates design and is not afraid to demonstrate this. I’ve often admired Iris Apfel’s sartorial style, although it is way too busy to suit me, and I would be driven to distraction by the weight and volume of jewellery she dons.
If you’ve reached a stage in your life where you feel like you’re becoming invisible, try exploring colours, textures, shapes and accessories that resonate with you and wear them. Ensure you wear something you love that makes you feel happy. Quoting from a previous Albert Maysles film (Gimme Shelter): love is real, not fade away!
My Iris, part 2 post will be out next week and is different again…!