“Nothing I ever did, I intended to do—it all happened,” Iris Apfel explains in the forthcoming documentary about her life. That would explain a lot—who could plan to decorate the White House for nine presidents, to have a Costume Institute exhibition of her own wardrobe, to cover a fashion magazine at the age of 91? Yet these adventures barely scratch the surface when it comes to the story of the 93-year-old’s life. A self-dubbed “geriatric starlet,” Apfel caught the eye of famed documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, who set about chronicling her life, from her marriage to Carl Apfel in 1948 (she still has the shoes she wore to their wedding!) and the launch of their fabric company (which led the couple to travel the globe in search of inspiration and jewellery) to her recent re-emergence as a fashion icon, complete with Bergdorf Goodman’s windows devoted to her style, the recent campaign with Kate Spade and even a MAC collaboration.
The resulting film, Iris, not only offers a glimpse into the colorful world of the “rare bird of fashion” (as the Metropolitan Museum of Art dubbed Apfel with its 2005 exhibition of her clothes and accessories); it’s a 78-minute philosophy lesson courtesy of a fearless lady who has seen it all—through those signature big ol’ bug glasses, of course. From her take on plastic surgery (“You could come out looking worse than when you started.”) to fellow New Yorkers’ wardrobes (“The population of Harlem has more style than the people downtown—they always wear black. That’s not style, that’s a uniform.”), Apfel has an opinion about everything, but always adheres to the same motto: “It’s better to be happy than well-dressed.”Iris is showing in New York now, but there is no word yet on the release date in Singapore. Watch the trailer below to whet your appetite meantime.