Iris Apfel

Who doesn’t want to have their own face on their desk

The american businesswoman and worldwide celebrity tells her home decoration accessories debut: homage to herself and to some Nude objects. Which she delightfully brighten them up.

Iris Apfel x Nude campaign shooting

Well into her nineties and an “accidental icon” for over 13 years, like the title her latest book says. Iris Apfel is living off the interest of an outstanding personality, one day guru, the other great style judge, and the next one a “one liner” machine; without mentioning model, muse and brand consultant on the side.

A phenomenon born when in 2005 the Institute del Met di New York put together “Rara Avis: Selections From The Iris Apfel Collection”: an exhibition on 40 years worth of dressed and accessories collected with great sharpness and freedom, that put her on the map of the fashionistas all around the world.

But not only as a clever collector, also because she is a fantastic stylist, especially when she works on her persona: “After all fashion is something you can buy, style you are born with”. In her case a lot, and not only on selecting then right piece of garment. Rather an all around talent.

From fabrics: when as a co founder of Old World Weavers with her husband she was the guide for a clientele that included big names like Greta Garbo, Estée Lauder and Montgomery Clift; to the interior design: when for nine different administrations she worked as a restoration fabric expert inside the White House. Of course, then there is the admirable energy of an senior more vital, more fresh minded, more ironic than any youngster. 

And that detail that is always common among icons, an accessory that turns them into something immediately recognizable, in her case the – giant – rounded glasses which “I can’t live without”. On Instagram Iris has more than one million followers. An impressive number quite understandable: she has a very interesting life, cool friends and – with the wisdom gathered in almost a century – she seems to be an oracle of advices capable to restore and give direction to anyone in doubts with themselves.

With all this charisma and uniqueness, people what a piece of her, naturally. And since a one-on-one meeting is very unlikely, the fever of possessing something related to her aura keep on rising. Or even something “inspired by” will suffice, like Nude – creator and manufacturer of contemporary glassware for modern living – just did. Making Iris the headline of a retake on classic objects of its collection, the mastermind behind new ones already available and – as 2019 will move along – of even more products: starting with the January edition of Maison & Objet.

Iris already launched a lipstick inspired by her penchant for red lips with Bergdorf Goodman, a jewelry collection in porcelain by Berbardaud and a celebrative Barbie; but this is the first time she goes into home decoration, so that her original touch in mixing colors and texture is not only wearable, but also collectable like your conventional Ming period vases obsessed.

How the collaboration with Nude started?
They called me up – well they called my lawyer up – and he recounted it to me. It sounded interesting. I have never done glassware before and I liked their product. I like the quality and the design of the company’s pieces. They have a clean, contemporary feel even though many of them are traditional shapes...And they mix with everything!  

What are the special qualities of an object Nude “Inspired by Iris Apfel”?All these pieces are very funny and irresistible! I’m happy that I’ve inspired Nude to bring out their playful side - it’s a fun, colourful piece that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. There’s no fun in taking life too seriously. My favourite ‘Inspired by Iris’ product is the Iris Apfel paperweight because who doesn’t want to have their own face on their desk. 

How did the creative process go: did you make an extensive research, create an inspirational moodboard? And more over: what is the difference between working on preexisting objects and creating new ones?
I don't intellectualize, it all comes from my gut. It's a very emotional thing. I get inspired just by the fact that I wake up in the morning. And then whatever happens that day, I feel like a gigantic sponge on two legs. I absorb more and more – we're all products of what we do, see, touch…

They called me up – well they called my lawyer up – and he recounted it to me. It sounded interesting. I have never done glassware before and I liked their product.

What is for you the definition of decoration: content, surface or a third category?
I’m not a person who follows rules, regulations and definitions. I follow my gut, it’s the way I feel about things. There’s too much sameness today. 

What is your everyday relationship with the objects you decorate your home with, or accessories an outfit: do you “listen” to them like they were talking or are they simply a color palette to choose from?Everything affects everything else. Nothing exists in a vacuum. One thing suggests another.

You have a long and fruitful interior designer experience, is there something new you have learned from this collaboration with Nude?
I like the quality and the design of the company’s pieces. I think Nude is very careful in protecting its legacy and keeping everything top-drawer. It makes some beautiful things that are absolutely divine. I’ve always been interested in anything that’s fine and beautiful and I think Nude touches all bases. Every experience has something lovely to offer me and I always learn something new from my experiences.

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