After starting the fabric house Old World Weavers in 1950 with her late husband Carl, Apfel worked for decades as an interior designer, even helping with décor and restoration projects at the White House for nine different presidents.
While she always had impeccable personal style and an eye for fashion, the industry didn’t officially come calling until much later. “My first big job in fashion came when I was 84, so as cliché as it is, age really is just a number to me,” she says. “But being passionate about my projects and putting my heart and soul into them has kept me young. That’s why I’ll never stop working.”
As a young woman, Apfel worked as a copy girl for Women’s Wear Daily, earning $15 a week, and for interior designer Elinor Johnson, dressing apartments for resale and honing her talent for sourcing rare items. She also was an assistant to illustrator Robert Goodman.
In her nineties alone, Apfel has signed with the global modeling agency IMG, released an autobiographical coloring book and a memoir, and debuted a fashion capsule collection with HSN and a home collection with Grandin Road. And now, to mark her milestone birthday, she teamed up with glasses brand Zenni to design the Iris Apfel Zentennial Collection, which features a colorful selection of the big, bold frames that have become her signature accessory.
Iris Apfel young
Iris Apfel husband and family
The Apfels did not have children, partly because of the amount of travel their work necessitated: she did not want children to be raised by a nanny.
Apfel and her husband Carl shared a favorite fragrance: Yatagan by Caron.
Married 68 years, Carl died on August 1, 2015, at age 100.
Iris Apfel net worth
Estimates from multiple sites that Apfel’s fortune is $25 million.