Posts Tagged ‘Albert Maysles’

Old? Yes. Old-fashioned? Hardly. Albert Maysles profiles a one-of-a-kind New Yorker in ‘Iris’

April 16, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 16, 2015

Before the audience gets a glimpse of Iris Apfel, the subject of Albert Maysles’ recently released documentary, it hears her.

More precisely, the audience hears the bangles and necklaces Apfel wears as they gently click against one another.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the late Maysles prepares us for our first look at the nonagenarian featured in Iris. If the aesthetic of this unlikely fashion icon could be summarized in one sentence, it would be, Nothing succeeds like excess. She seems to be wearing no fewer than three different necklaces and half a dozen bracelets at any one time, and her trademark oversized glasses all but openly dare the onlooker not to gawk.

Apfel’s homes seem to be bursting with clothing and knickknacks, all as vibrant and whimsical and over-the-top as her outfits. And yes, I meant homes: Iris and her husband, Carl Apfel, founded Old World Weavers, an enormously successful textile business that, among other things, contributed to White House design projects under nine presidents. They also, we later see, have an enormous warehouse stuffed with castoff treasures.

Personality-wise, the brassy Apfel seems to be almost as in-your-face as her clothing and decor. And yet, Iris succeeds because Apfel has an inimitable, undeniable charm.

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