Fashion Icon New Yorker Iris Apfel Signs With IMG, Her First 'Proper Agent' At Age 97

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CNN Style wasn’t kidding, when Stephy Chung introduced an in-depth profile of a legendary New York style icon with the words ”Even at 96, Iris Apfel shows little interest in slowing down.”

Known for her bold and eccentric mix of haute couture with flea market finds, Apfel’s notoriety got a major boost in 2005, when her personal clothing collection went on display at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Renamed the Anna Wintour Costume Center in May 2014, the renovated Costume Instutute Space includes the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery to orient visitors to The Costume Institute's exhibitions. That, dear friends, is known as making a name for yourself.

A year later, Chung’s description of Iris Apfel was one the money, with the 97-year-old signing with IMG, one of the biggest and most prestigious model and talent agencies in the fashion world. The company will represent Apfel in modeling contracts, as well as appearances and endorsements.

"I’m very excited. I never had a proper agent," Apfel told WWD. "I’m a do-it-yourself girl. I never expected my life would take this turn so I never prepared for it. It all just happened so suddenly, and I thought at my tender age, I’m not going to set up offices and get involved with all kinds of things. I thought it was a flash in the pan, and it’s not going to last. Somehow, people found me. People would just call. Tommy Hilfiger said that was no way to do it, and he put us together. I’m very excited and very grateful."

Apfel hopes that her success will inspire other older women to do the same. "I don’t think a number should make any difference and make you stop working," she said. "I think retirement is a fate worse than death. I love to work, and love my work. I feel sorry for people who don’t like what they do. I do it now to the exclusion of everything else. I meet interesting, creative people, my juices flow and I really have a fine time."

Iris Apfel Makes a Vivid Impression In Luis Monteiro Images For Vogue Portugal August 2018

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Iris Apfel Makes a Vivid Impression In Luis Monteiro Images For Vogue Portugal August 2018

New York native Iris Apfel found the blazing limelight late in life -- not her 50s or 60s or even 70s. Apfel was in her 80s before she began popping up everywhere, and her distinctive, male bird of paradise style (females are notably less colorful in the animal world) caught the attention of New York's inner fashion circle.

Iris Apfel became the first living person not a fashion designer to have an exhibition dedicated to her at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2015, Iris Apfel and her beloved, now-departed from earth husband of almost 70 years Carl, got the documentary treatment in the Albert Maysles film 'Iris'. Many believe that iris and Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele got together in another life. 

Eye: Fashion Icon Iris Apfel Covers Elle India November 2017, By Bikramjit Bose In 'Friday With Iris'

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Eye: Fashion Icon Iris Apfel Covers Elle India November 2017, By Bikramjit Bose In 'Friday With Iris'

Fashion icon, interior designer and American businesswoman Iris Apfel, rolling at age 96, fronts the November 2017 issue of Elle India. Malini Banerji styles Iris in images by Bikramjit Bose for 'Friday With Iris'. / Makeup by Eric Vosburg

Iris Apfel is known for being blunt. For example, when asked by Fashionista about dressing for your age, she responded: "I think that's stupid," Apfel says about the phrase. "I think [designers are] all entirely too youth-oriented. I think a lot of designers create very expensive clothes for women [in their] 60s and 70s — people who wear them — and they create them for 16- and 18-year-old bodies. The kids can't afford to buy them and the women look like a horse's ass if they put it on. So it's all out of whack."

Listen up, designers! Apfel sat down with T Magazine's Deborah Needleman in 2013.