Fashion Icon Has Passed Away

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Iris Apfel started her career as an interior designer, but she ended her career as a fashion designer who was known for her large, round glasses.

A statement on Apfel’s Instagram account confirmed the sad news of her death on March 1, 2024. She was 102 years old. She was at her home in Palm Beach, Florida at the time of her death.

In 2021, when she was celebrating her 100th birthday, Apfel told PEOPLE why she was still working in her later years. She explained, “At 100, what else is there to do except sit around? I don’t play bridge. I don’t play golf. I love to work, and I really enjoy what I do.”

That same year, she told TODAY, “Oh, I love to work. It’s fun because I enjoy it.” She added, “People tell me I inspire them. So many good things come out of it. I think retiring at any age is a fate worse than death. Just because a number comes up doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

One year later, she explained to PEOPLE that she wanted to make the world a more colorful place. She explained, “The world can be a gray place, so colors, patterns and textures are a way to bring some fun to life. Same with makeup — I want my lipsticks to be as bright and bold as possible.”

Apfel was born in Queens, New York. In 1947, she married her husband, Carl Apfel, and they remained married until his death in 2015. Together, they started a textile company called Old World Weavers. Their clients included Greta Garbo, Estée Lauder, and nine sitting presidents.

In the early 2000s, Apfel became known more for her fashion than for interior design. In 2022, she created a clothing line for H&M and a beauty line for Ciáte London.

Five years ago, Apfel spoke to TODAY about becoming an “accidental” fashion icon. She also shared her thoughts on style trends like ripped jeans and pajama inspired outfits. Watch the video below to learn more about Apfel’s thoughts on fashion, style and her successful career.