‘Iris’ Documentary Debuts: Iris Apfel Shares Her Shoe Love

Iris Apfel
Iris Apfel, photographed in 2012.
JOHN AQUINO

At 93, style icon Iris Apfel continues her love affair with fashion. Easily recognized by her oversized glasses, which dwarf her petite frame, Apfel has been freely expressing herself for decades through a quirky mix of accessories and apparel that run the gamut from runway chic to street-corner finds.

Debuting today, “Iris,” a documentary by the late Albert Maysles — also the director of the acclaimed “Grey Gardens” and “Gimme Shelter” — celebrates Apfel’s influence on the world of fashion. Opening in theaters nationwide, the film explores Apfel’s creativity and how she continues to inspire fashionistas of all ages.

Shoes have been an integral part of Apfel’s eclectic accessories collection. In 2012, she gave Footwear News an exclusive sneak peek into her footwear closet, sharing some of her favorite shoe moments.

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Included in her stash were shoes by Christian Louboutin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod’s and Yves St. Laurent, among others.

Apfel said her favorite designer is Roger Vivier. “My god, I adore that man,” she said. “When I was a young woman and would go to Paris twice a year in the early ’50s, the first thing I did was sling my bags and run to drool in front of his shop window.”

Apfel has never be one to shy away from expressing her fashion opinions. Among the worst shoe trends, she told FN, are “those big platforms and insanely high heels. They look like an orthopedist’s delight. I don’t see anything beautiful about them.”

The designer cited clean-looking shoes as her go-to style. “I don’t mind if a shoe is embellished, but it has to be well-designed,” she explained. “Manolo’s shoes seem perfectly designed. He knows what he’s doing. And there’s nothing that beats a classic pump.”

Apfel has been collecting footwear for decades. Her oldest pair dates back to before her marriage 69 years ago. “They’re Ferragamo and so fabulous,” she said. “They’re on a very interesting wedge with a brown suede-and-snake trim.”