An influencer before there was Instagram
And the only person who, while alive, has been the subject of a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute—Iris Apfel is larger than life. Not literally, of course: At just over five feet tall, the 97-year-old tastemaker just seems that way, with her oversized horn-rim glasses, stacks of bangles lining both arms, and boldly graphic outfits mixing patterns, colors, and textures with aplomb.
Her refined style is the result of her passions, including her times as an interior designer, textile manufacturer, and collector of artisinal and non-Western clothing and jewelry. But the overall effect of her combinations is stunning. Despite the multitude of pieces, taken from different periods and provenances, she looks so modern. Every detail is essential, with nothing more and nothing less. In a way, you even could say it exemplifies Nude’s mantra that “simple is beautiful.”
In fact, that’s exactly how Iris describes her taste: “I like simple objects. But I like to use a lot of them.”
As the face of Nude’s latest campaign—and the inspiration behind its new collection of glassware and decorative objects—Iris exemplifies how simplicity is a state of mind. That when it comes to her, no matter where or with whom she is, she is always herself. She has one personality, one set of core beliefs, and one aesthetic sensibility.
She finds that kindred spirit in Nude. “I like the quality and the design of the company’s pieces,” she says of the appeal. “They have a clean, contemporary feel even though many of them are traditional shapes.” She smiles. “And they mix with everything.”
For those looking to create their own style, Iris has a few pieces of advice. “You have to learn who you are, what your aesthetic is, and how you feel about things,” she says. “You can’t just jump from trend to trend and copy what is around. You have to be true to yourself.”
When you’ve found that essence, that timeless and pure place, everything becomes clear. You know what you stand for, which makes life easier. Which is how Iris can be Iris, and Nude can be Nude.
“I think Nude is very careful in protecting its legacy and keeping everything top-drawer,” she says of the brand and its values. “It makes some beautiful things that are absolutely divine.”