The fashion icon on flea markets, being the worlds oldest teenager and the scent she and her husband both wore
Born in New York, Apfel, 96, went to art school before working on Womens Wear Daily. Having co-founded Old World Weavers with her husband in 1950, she became an authority on antique textiles and took on design projects at the White House for nine presidents. In 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art staged an exhibition of her clothes and accessories. She has modelled for MAC makeup, and at 91, made the cover of Dazed & Confused magazine. Her new book is Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon.
When were you happiest?
I try to be happy whenever I can. I dont fret about whats past and we dont know if there will be a future, so I make as much as I can out of whats here now.
What is your earliest memory?
My first big shopping trip, when I was 11 or 12. My mother gave me $25 to buy an outfit for the Easter Parade. I bought a beautiful silk dress in pale peach, a straw hat and a pair of pumps, and I still had money left for coffee and lunch.
What is your most treasured possession?
The Wandering Jew ring that belonged to my husband, Carl, is very important to me. We bought it in Dublin on his birthday on 4 August 1958, and he wore it until he died.
What would your super power be?
Peace, a cure for cancer and Alzheimers, and everybody to be well educated all the good stuff.
What is your favourite smell?
Yatagan by Caron. My husband and I both wore it; perfume is never the same on two people.
What is your favourite word?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
What is top of your bucket list?
I would love to go to India. I will probably never get there now, but I dream about it.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Going to flea markets, although they are not the treasure troves they used to be.
What do you owe your parents?
A sense of humour, curiosity and adventure. My father was intellectual and street smart. My mother was unbelievable for her time: she was in law school when she became pregnant with me so she had to quit, but she went into the fashion boutique business and taught me so many things.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Carl. He was a terrific guy and we were together 68 years. I am grateful the good Lord provided interesting projects for me to do, so I was able to create another life.
Whom would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I wouldnt do one: if you think somethings going to be a dream party, it usually ends up a nightmare.
How do you relax?
Having a quiet dinner with friends. Thats very hard these days; in New York, finding a restaurant where you can hear yourself talk is like looking for hens teeth.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Lasting this long.
How would you like to be remembered?
As the worlds oldest living teenager.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
In wonder it begins and in wonder it ends. Theres too much dwelling these days on cold hard facts and technology. I think there should be mystery and glamour.