Living Rara Avis: A Review of Albert Maysles’ Iris

Albert Maysles’ Iris was a way to capture as much of the “Rare Bird of Fashion” on film as possible to share with the world how a 93 year-old lives a life more exciting than most of the twenty somethings reading fashion blogs from their tablets and smartphones.

Homogeneity and pretty are some things she avoids at all costs.

“I don’t happen to like pretty” she says.

Even as a young woman Iris was told that she was not attractive but she had style and that would get her more places in her industry than a pretty face. This is why she encourages the students of the University of Texas, where she is a sitting professor, to be active participants in their fashion choices and not to always go where the racks are full of the same thing or to rely on media coverage as a means of fame. While teaching she introduces the students to a number of talented hands that still hand make their items, just as Iris did with her own business Old World Weavers until 1992 when she and her co-star and husband Carl Apfel retired, in hopes that the students will be inspired to blaze their own trails. Just as Iris has with her unique way of shopping. IRIS-APFEL-16

Watching Iris Apfel shop is rewarding in a cathartic way. You laugh when she’s appalled at the price of an item, you feel happy for her when she finds just the right piece and you laugh again when she haggles the price. With Carl by her side sometimes and other times her friends who want to show her something new Iris has gone out and acquired enough clothes to fill three different properties and a storage loft with her style.

Iris Apfel is, as most of the hundreds of interviews, quotes, magazine article, pictures would imply, a cherished oddity in the fashion world.  After watching the 83 minutes of nonstop wit, engaging activity and charm everyone should understand just how off the mark describing her as an oddity is; Iris Apfel is a creator and not just of material things.

She creates her reality each day as she goes and she enjoys living in it from her iconic round eyeglasses to her shockingly put-together outfits to her glorious lavender-tinted white mullet to her flip phone that never stops ringing to flirting with Kanye West; Iris Apfel is LIVING.

Living Rara Avis: A Review of Albert Maysles’ Iris

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