ALBERT MAYSLES’ IRIS
By Naomi Barling
Everyone interested in style is anticipating the new documentary out on April 29, 2015, exploring the life of Iris Apfel. Albert Maysles, who sadly passed away in March of this year, is the driving force behind the film. With successes like Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter under the belt, it’s easy to see why the Hollywood Reporter gave the film rave reviews saying: “Iris is a captivating salute to a proud flag-bearer for that vanished attribute, the legendary New York clotheshorse and design darling Iris Apfel.”
Apfel, the 93-year-old veteran of style, has become a respected icon within the industry. Her fearless style and appetite for life has inspired a generation of budding fashion enthusiasts. She first came to fame in the 1950s when she founded the textile company Old World Weavers, with her husband, Carl Apfel, who turned 100 during filming! Apfel has always kept a busy schedule: she’s played a part in numerous design restoration projects, including working with nine different presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Ford, and Clinton) at the White House!
In Iris, we get a insight into her friendships with Bruce Weber, Jenna Lyons, and Kanye West, as well as an intimate look at how, within the confines of her Park Avenue apartment, she faces the struggles of old age. Fashion, she says, never keeps her up at night. “Matters of health and things like that do.” We are shown a realistic portrait of life; her gentle bickering with her 100-year-old husband and business partner, a look at her humble beginnings in Queens during the great depression but also a glimpse of glamour and her creative talents.
The documentary, like much of Maysles work, looks at the human side of his subjects. He taps into something most of us fear: getting old. He shows Apfel exhibiting a fierceness that many of us wish we were blessed with or could possess one day.