Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Loose As a Goose" Funny Lady Iris Apfel

IrisWhen Apfel opens the door to her apartment in a beautiful Park Avenue building she is wearing an unremarkable outfit of jeans and a grey sweater: 'The jeans are from - what's that cheap store? Old Navy - but the sweater is cashmere.'

'You can't try to be somebody you're not; that's not style. If someone says, "Buy this, you'll be stylish," you won't be stylish because you won't be you. You have to learn who you are first and that's painful.'
When I ask her if she has learnt who she is, she answers enigmatically. 'I don't try to intellectualise about it because it tightens you up. I think you have to be loose as a goose.'

'It was fabulous then, everyone looked beautiful,' she says in her low drawling voice that sounds like it comes out of a 1950s Hollywood film.
'Now when I walk down Fifth Avenue in the summertime I just want to throw up. It seems that the fatter and uglier people are, the fewer clothes they wear. The shorts and flip-flops and tight jeans on butts that go from here to Poughkeepsie.'

She shudders. 'I always say they should put people in jail for wearing clothes like that. Especially stretch jeans over size 10 [a UK size 14] - they should be outlawed. Ten years ago people were starting to look like slobs in New York, now it's an epidemic.'

'I haven't been in London for some years but the last time I was there they looked fuddy-duddy and school-marmish, yes, but not slobby. And then there are the wonderful eccentrics like the kids on Carnaby Street or the punks or whatever the heck they are.'


She became friends with Duke Ellington, whom she first met when she was writing a paper on jazz. Hearing he was in town, she went to see him. 'I got all dressed up; I think I had more nerve than brains. I went backstage and knocked on the door and Ray Nance [Ellington's trumpeter] came out and said, "Lordy, lordy, who's your tailor?"

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