From sitting front row at Paris Fashion Week to squeezing in vintage shopping before dinner with Azzedine Alaïa, Iris Apfel's schedule would be impressive even if she weren't a nonagenarian. Now back in New York, she hosted a breakfast on Friday at the Carlyle Hotel to launch her new collaboration with WiseWear, a collection of flashy, health-monitoring bracelets. (Did we mention she designs, too?) In between speeches and bites of bacon, she took some time with style and aging with grace.
It looked like you had a great time at Paris Fashion Week. How was your trip in the end? Well, I did a program for Le Bon Marché and I was absolutely besieged. If I were a rock star and Queen Elizabeth rolled together, I couldn’t be treated in a more fantastic fashion. I was mobbed every place I went. Our ambassador to France made me a beautiful cocktail party at the residence of the Embassy building, and I did some pictures at Karl Lagerfeld’s studio. It was really wonderful, really hectic.
What are your favorite places to shop there? I didn’t have one minute to shop this time, and I hadn’t been in 11 years, so I haven’t shopped in all that time, but I used to go to the couture shops there – you know, Dior, Nina Ricci and everybody. I know Le Bon Marché can satisfy everybody’s needs, and it’s a beautiful store, it’s been redone since I was there and it’s just got everything – even J. Crew, and the most fantastic food department.
Did you have any great meals there? Azzedine Alaïa cooked a dinner for me, which was fabulous. It was a fish dinner. I’ve never had such good scallops. They tasted like they just jumped out of the sea. He loves to cook and he has a big, wonderful kitchen, and he had some of his friends and told me to invite some of my friends. He lives in a converted mattress factory, where he has his atelier and showroom with his kitchen.
What about your favorite stores in New York? Well I love Bergdorfs, but I don’t get too much chance to stop. I’m so busy all the time, and at my stage of the game, you know I’ve been buying for 94 years, I really don’t need very much. I’m giving away.
What’s your favorite thing you own? Oh, everything I own, I love. I don’t play favorites.
How would you describe your style? I don’t describe my style – I don’t think it’s my place. That’s for other people to do.
What are you wearing today? This is a vintage Valentino jacket – everything I have now it seems is vintage, you know by what vintage standards are today – and these are cashmere pants from Krizia. Then I have this necklace from a Danish designer, and these bracelets from WiseWear, which are great for stacking.
Anything you’ve added to your closet recently that you’re excited about? I found a vintage red fox coat, which was the only thing I got in Paris. On a Saturday at about 6 o’clock my friend and I had about an hour before we had to go to dinner, so he took me to some vintage store he knows. I’ve always wanted a rusty red fox coat, and there it was. I was in love with it, and I never wore anything so fast – I wore it to Alaïa’s house that night.