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Image / Fashion

Style icon Iris Apfel is officially a model at 97


By Jennifer McShane
02nd Feb 2019
Style icon Iris Apfel is officially a model at 97

What is there to say about New York fashion icon Iris Apfel that hasn’t already been said?

The nonagenarian has been synonymous with style for so long – despite coming to mass public attention a little later than she might have liked. It was in her older years that Instagram garnered her a new level of fame and followers. 

And now, she can officially call herself a fully-fledged model after it was announced this week that the 97-year-old had been signed to IMG models, one of the biggest agencies in the industry.

 

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“I’m very excited. I never had a proper agent,” Apfel told WWD. “I’m a do-it-yourself girl. I never expected my life would take this turn so I never prepared for it. It all just happened so suddenly, and I thought at my tender age, I’m not going to set up offices and get involved with all kinds of things. I thought it was a flash in the pan, and it’s not going to last. Somehow, people found me. People would just call. Tommy Hilfiger said that was no way to do it, and he put us together. I’m very excited and very grateful.”

Related: Iris Apfel speaks her mind on fashion, fame and social media

She loves fashion but doesn’t hesitate to point out that the industry is still extremely one-dimensional, despite efforts in recent years. When she spoke to IMAGE last year, she perfectly summed her thoughts on the need for change.

 

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Related: A throwback to when Iris met IMAGE

“I think the ridiculous focus on youth and making dresses that cost thousands of dollars for bodies that are 18 years old is so ridiculous. They can’t afford them, and all the women who can afford them look ridiculous if they wear them – it doesn’t make any sense.”

It is this refreshing sense of self that we need if we are to champion rule-breakers in the fashion world and encourage designers to deviate from traditional norms. Slowly, there has been a shift. Notably since actress and model, Isabella Rossellini became a face of Lancome again, 35 years after she was dropped by the brand for being “too old” at just 42.

 

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In this way, Apfel hopes that her success will inspire other older women to do the same.

“I don’t think a number should make any difference and make you stop working,” she said. “I love to work and love my work. I feel sorry for people who don’t like what they do. I do it now to the exclusion of everything else. I meet interesting, creative people, my juices flow and I really have a fine time.”

Age. It is nothing but a number.