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Black Tie International Magazine: Iris Apfel


In Loving Memory

Iris Apfel

By: Errol Rapppaport


Iris Apfel


We gather here today, each of us carrying a piece of Iris within us. Iris Apfel was a true force of nature, known for her distinctive style adorned with oversized glasses, layers of jewelry, and vibrant attire that made her stand out in any crowd. Beyond her outward appearance, Iris embodied a philosophy centered on style, creativity, and passion. Her mantra, "Collect the things that inspire you," reflected her eclectic taste, evident in her extensive collection of clothes, accessories, and artifacts from around the globe. Iris was not one to follow trends; rather, she set them.


Together with her partner Carl, Iris embarked on annual European trips, scouring flea markets for unique treasures. Their Astoria storage facility became a haven for artistic expression, where they transformed odds and ends into works of art, like electrifying bird cages into lamps, including one memorable creation for our Kings Point house, featuring a mother and child monkey inside, accompanied by a whimsical touch of candy corn in the feeding cup. Our home resembled a zoo with ceramic animals adorning every corner, yet strangely, they never made a mess.
Iris approached life with an appreciation for the finer things, including her enjoyment of great dining. Her attention to detail even extended to her preference for Scotch, where she would meticulously mix it to her liking with ice and water. Embracing the mantra of reinvention, Iris continuously evolved, transitioning seamlessly from interior designer to businesswoman to fashion icon. For her, life was an adventure, and reinvention was the key to maintaining a youthful spirit.
Iris lived by her own rules, dancing to the beat of her own drum and finding joy in every step. She encouraged others to find enjoyment in everything, whether it be uncovering treasures at flea markets or attending glamorous events. One of my fondest memory of Iris and Carl is when they came up to our house on Candlewood Lake for the weekend, Iris heard there was a local flea market and she took off early Sunday morning. I recall Iris's delight upon discovering red leather collars and cuffs with large bells, reminiscent of those worn by deer on sleds, she came back home with the biggest smile.
Throughout her journey, Iris trusted her instincts, guiding her through decades of success and happiness. She wasn't just an icon; she was a friend, a mentor, and a muse to many. Her legacy lives on in the hearts of those who knew her, a reminder to embrace change, defy expectations, and always trust one's instincts.
In her later years, Iris continued to inspire, exemplifying enduring love and mutual respect through her partnership with Carl. Their relationship was a testament to a life well-lived, filled with passion, creativity, and unwavering self-assurance. As we bid farewell to our dear friend, Iris Apfel, her legacy remains etched in our hearts, a reminder to savor every moment and embrace life's ever-changing journey. 
Rest in peace, Dear Friend of 71 year...
Goodwill  Ambassador Black Tie International Magazine





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