Heaps of glowing reviews are being doled out for "Iris", the late Albert Maysles' last film. The documentary follows 93 year-old Iris Apfel, an interior designer and fashion influencer whose age has not diminished her productivity, having most recently appeared in ad campaigns for Kate Spade and Alexis Bittar. Apfel's wit, joie de vivre, and style chutzpah make this a can't-miss film for the LNS team.
Iris exemplifies so much of what we admire about individuals who embrace his or her own unique personality through fashion and design. Below are just a few of our favorite fashion mavericks, who perhaps will encourage you to be yourself, whoever that may be. (Because biographies are written about trailblazers—never those who follow the heavily trafficked path.)
Who: Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino (Italian heiress and patroness of the arts)
Style: High Drama
Trademark: As if she had just stepped out of a painting, right down to the snakes she had once worn across her neck as adornment and the feathers in her hair.
Lesser known fact: Buried in an unassuming grave plot in Knightsbridge, where she spent her later years in relative poverty.
Fashionable quote: “I want to be a living work of art.” (And she was.)
Who: Coco Chanel (fashion designer and founder of Chanel)
Style: Timeless sophistication
Trademark: Her eponymous jacket. A suntan. Trousers. (All of which were popularized for women by her.)
Lesser known fact: Born in a poorhouse to an unwed laundrywoman.
Fashionable quote: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
Who: Daphne Guinness (artist, heiress to the Guinness Beer fortune)
Style: Victorian socialite meets queen from another galaxy.
Lesser known fact: Wears white ballet slippers whilst on the StairMaster at the gym.
Fashionable quote: “You can tell the state of civilization by the way people dress. If the people who fought two World Wars came back to 2010 and saw all of us running around in tracksuits, what would they think? It is just about being sloppy.”
Who: Anna Piaggi (late creative force at Italian Vogue and editor-in-chief of Vanity magazine.)
Style: High/low eclecticism.
Trademark: Powdered face with pronounced rouge and lipstick and her many, many hats. She claimed to have never left the house without wearing a hat since the 1980s.
Lesser known fact: According to an audit from the V&A's 2006 exhibit on Piaggi and her wardrobe, she owned "265 pairs of shoes, 29 fans, 932 hats, 2,865 dresses, 24 aprons and 31 feather boas."
Fashionable quote: “To me, fashion is a trance. It is a moment, an expression. My philosophy of fashion is humor, jokes and games. And I make my own rules."
Who: Iris Apfel (of course)
Trademark: Layers of jewelry. Oversized eyeglasses.
Lesser known fact: As an interior designer, participated in White House restoration projects under nine different presidential administrations (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton).
Fashionable quote: "When you don't dress like everybody else, you don't have to think like everybody else."
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