The American textile specialist-turned-model Iris Apfel is a true fashion icon – so original is her singular, baroque-inspired style that it has even earned her an exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Now in conjunction with her centennial birthday, H&M has collaborated with her on a 38-piece-strong, limited-edition line of ready-to-wear and accessories emulating her vivacious taste. Ahead of its recent launch in stores and online on March 31, this original peacock offered a few wise (and exclusive) words on the state of dressing today.
Many of the bijoux are double-duty, including an oversized frog-shaped pendant that can be detached from its chunky chain to be worn alone as a brooch.
HAVING MOVED IN THE FASHION AND CREATIVE CIRCLES FOR SO LONG, WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON PERSONAL STYLE TODAY?
“Part of the problem with the way people dress nowadays is that it’s too generic. Everyone looks the same: They wear what’s in fashion, what’s trendy… That’s terribly dull. I want to see personality. Dress exactly the way you want to and you’ll always look wonderful because you’ll feel wonderful and like yourself… I think it’s much better to be happy than well dressed.”
THIS H&M COLLABORATION MIRRORS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE CLOSELY. WHAT STYLE NOTES SHOULD PEOPLE DRAW FROM YOU?
“I don’t want people to dress or think like me – that’s not the idea. I want people to think for themselves and use their imaginations to find the colours, cuts, accessories and combinations that work for them. You should be your own style icon.”
Everything in the Iris Apfel x H&M collection is as big on consciousness as it is on exuberance – from richly printed maxi dresses and pyjama-style pairings made of recycled polyester to nature-inspired jewellery crafted from recycled brass and zinc.
YOU’RE NOT TRAINED IN FASHION DESIGN, SO HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT CREATING THE PIECES FOR THIS COLLABORATION?
“I don’t know where my inspiration comes from. I’m experimental; I’m curious; I like to try new things. I do what feels right and I improvise. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always exciting. When I design things, I want to smile, laugh and feel happy.”
THE ELEMENTS OF FUN AND HAPPINESS SEEM TO HAVE DEFINED YOUR STYLE NO MATTER THE TIMES. TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS APPROACH TO DRESSING.
“Glamour, fantasy, humour, whimsy – all of these are missing in modern life. We should bring them back. I love colour – the brighter the better. Pastels make me anxious. I love the energy and excitement that bright colours bring to an outfit. Fashion should be fun and colour is fun!”
Apfel says that this tulle jacket will instantly make anyone feel “wonderfully avant garde” in it.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PIECES FROM THIS H&M TIE-UP, AND WHY?
“There’s a turquoise and green suit that I love. It’s made from a divine jacquard fabric with lovely little peas embroidered on it. (Apfel knows and has an affinity for the material – in 1950, she launched the luxury textile brand Old World Weavers, which sourced and recreated rare fabrics from around the world. The esoteric expertise made the company one of the most respected names in textiles with a lofty clientele that included nine American presidents at the White House.) And the ruffled purple tulle jacket is really fabulous too. So much volume! I love a piece that takes up space. You feel wonderfully avant-garde with that one on.”
Bold and loud costume jewellery have become a style M.O. for Iris Apfel
YOU’RE FAMOUS FOR A MORE-IS-MORE APPROACH TO JEWELLERY. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE PIECES IN THIS COLLABORATION.
“They’re big, bold and wild. Perfect for layering. You can mix them with pieces you already have to make them suit your look. There’s a fantastic orange and green necklace with a chunky chain and a frog-shaped pendant, and you can remove the frog and use it as a brooch. I adore that kind of versatility.”
Now that you’ve got the primer on the collection, scroll on for a quick look at what you can shop for from Apfel’s outing with H&M