The Creative Wisdom of Iris Apfel
It all started with a photo of a white-haired woman with big glasses, bright lipstick, a magenta feather jacket, and piles of necklaces, bracelets and rings. She was over the top in every conceivable way — and I loved it.
A year or so later, the Albert Maysles documentary, “Iris,” showed up in my Netflix queue. I gobbled up every second and then watched it again. She was so compelling, fun, lighthearted and also brazen, loving and hilarious. She dripped with creativity, but none of the elitist hubris that often latches on to the fashion movers and shakers. She spoke about a custom hand-painted Versace jacket with the same love and appreciation as a stuffed Kermit the Frog.
Beyond the style and obvious thirst for life, Iris also holds profound nuggets of wisdom that can be applied in any creative work.
- BE OPEN: “I don’t expect to find inspiration. It just sort of comes. Sometimes you step on a big and you get inspired.”
- FIND A CONNECTION: “If you’re not interested, you’re not interesting.”
- KEEP LEARNING: “If you don’t learn constantly, you don’t grow and you will wither. Too many people wither on the vine. Sure, it gets a little harder as you get older, but new experiences and new challenges keep it fresh.”
- BE BRAVE: “I don’t have any rules, because I would only be breaking them, so it’s a waste of time.”
- KEEP TRYING: “I think I still keep my sense of wonder, which I call childlike, not childish, childlike. I still have a vivid imagination, and I like to try a lot of new things.”
- ENJOY THE PROCESS: “After all these years, I’ve learned that it’s not the end result or finished product but the process I most enjoy. If my experimenting, searching and juxtaposing turns into an exciting outfit well, it’s just a big fat bonus!”
- BE BOLD: “Never be afraid to stop traffic.”
Here’s to Iris!