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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Iris doc

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

New Yorker Iris Apfel, a one-of-a-kind fashion eccentric, gets her 15 minutes of fame in this doc from the late Albert Maysles

Iris Apfel is exactly what you want to be when you’re 93 – she’s funny, badly behaved and wakes up every morning ready to take a bite out of the world. Which makes this documentary, directed by the legendary doc-maker Albert Maysles (his last film before he died in March), a delight. Apfel is a style icon. She came to fashion superstardom late, in her eighties, plucked out of retirement (she’d worked all her life as an interior designer) when a museum exhibition of her clothes became a surprise hit in New York. ‘I’m a geriatric starlet!’

Fashion is a funny old business. All that effort spent making us dress identically in boring black, then along comes a one-off eccentric like Mrs Apfel and they’re falling at her feet. ‘Wear everything and the kitchen sink’ is her style motto, and she’s instantly recognisable behind enormous owlish glasses, wearing outfits so bright you can probably see them from Mars. We watch as fashion designers, including J Crew’s Jenna Lyons, trip over themselves to worship at her altar, and cosmetics giant Mac launches a line of lipsticks in her honour.

As for Mrs A, she’s having the time of her life as fashion’s oldest it-girl, though she’s still just as happy rummaging around a shop in Harlem for African bangles or bargain hunting at a flea market. It’s not just fashion either. This woman has plenty of blunt wisdom to share. She’s knows a thing or two about marriage (she and Mr Apfel have been devoted to each other for over 60 years). She’s against plastic surgery (‘You come out looking like a Picasso, with scrawny hands that don’t match your face’). And despite having spent a lifetime (and a fortune) devoted to clothes, she knows what’s important in life: ‘It’s better to be happy than well-dressed.’

Written by Cath Clarke

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 31 July 2015
  • Duration:83 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Albert Maysles
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