Iris Apfel: "It’s Better To Be Happy Than To Be Chic"

The Maysles Brothers are known for documentary films that portray some pretty flavor-liciouscharacters. My mother (who thinks she saw them taping at the infamous Stones concert at Altamont but isn't quite sure, because, hey, it was the 60s) loves their film Gimme ShelterGrey Gardens is a masterpiece, as it looks behind the aristocratic veil to see the eccentric aunt and cousin of Jackie O in all their sweater-turban wearing, raccoon feeding goodness. The elder Maysles, Albert, picked one of the grandest matriarchs of the style world as the subject for his new documentary: Iris Apfel. The film, Iris, is slated for theatrical release this year. 

Apfel is the queen of the outliers. She's a nonagenarian fashion mogul who is self-described as 'not a conventional beauty.' Picture a petite pixie with 20 lbs. of chunky, colorful jewelry, enough printed scarves for one stunning hot air balloon, and thick black glasses that are twice the size of her face. When Coco Chanel said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,”  we imagine Apfel might have countered with, "Before you leave the house, put on six more necklaces. Or don’t. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.” We love this. We love her. She puts the highest value on creating a personal style; traditional beauty standards be damned. This is a hardcore attitude for someone who lives and breathes in the fashion world.

“Look for what pleases you. If you buy something and you're not comfortable with wearing it or having it out, then it’s not for you. I always tell everybody, being well dressed or having your home well decorated is a choice. If you have to go through too much stress or aggravation or too much this or that... then, forget it! It’s better to be happy than to be chic. You just need to relax. There are no fashion police that are going to carry you away!”

No fashion police. No Devil Wears Prada. No US Weekly "Who Wore It Better" lists, and no Fashion Weeks can truly tell us what to do. It’s just you and your style. As hairdressers, we are a part of that mythical beauty world, and it is time we listen to Iris Apfel about showing ourselves in this industry we are lucky enough to be in. As a personal confession, I hate wearing hardcore makeup. I’m happy looking curvy and weird with my 90s china doll fringe that I haven’t changed in 20 years and a killer lipstick shade. I only wear one big chunky bracelet, and always on my left wrist.  I also want to show my guests that eccentric can be pricey, as well, so I have a pair of David Yurman glasses that are half the size of my face. I’m not "pretty." I’m fabulous.

Glasses and lipstick and simple black clothing; that’s my tribute to Iris. What’s yours? Show us your stuff on Instagram and Facebook with #DestroyTheHairdresser