Iris Apfel Talks HSN Shoe Collection

Self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet” Iris Apfel is adding shoe designer to her fashion repertoire. With handbags, jewelry and eyewear already under her belt, the 91-year-old style icon said the process came naturally.

“I’ve always done [custom] shoes. I never stopped thinking about [designing] them,” Apfel told Footwear News, “but I never thought I’d do commercial shoes, so I’m delirious to be doing it now.”

Called Rara Avis in conjunction with Apfel’s existing HSN jewelry and handbag lines, the collection includes seven flats and one mid-heel. The styles will be available in February and retail for $50 to $100 on HSN.

“I like to make them timeless and ageless,” Apfel said of her designs. “They’re not little girl shoes and they’re not old lady shoes. They’re for all ages depending on your sensibilities.”

According to HSN’s chief merchandising officer, Anne Martin-Vachon, footwear was an organic step in Apfel’s HSN collection. “Iris knows what she wants and was an active participant in putting together the collection,” Martin-Vachon said. “She has an amazing sense of style and a great point of view. It was easy to translate that to footwear.”

According to Apfel, the line, which includes smoking slippers, moccasins and a Mary Jane style, was inspired by the items in her personal collection, in addition to what’s missing. “It’s hard to find attractive flats — most are ballet flats or pilgrim shoes,” Apfel said. “I thought there was a big need for it.”

Martin-Vachon agreed Apfel’s shoe collection would add to HSN customers’ closets. “Everyone looks to her for eclectic and effortless style and how they can enhance their own personal style,” she said. “All the shoes are wearable art.”

Now that Apfel has added footwear to her fashion resume, are there plans for her to lend a designing eye to any other product categories? “I’m so busy I haven’t had a chance to think about it,” she said. “I’m happy I could do everything I’ve done so far, perhaps I’ll go forever.”