Fashionista Iris Apfel hosts Queen Mary 2

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Beth J. Harpaz

Irreverent fashion icon Iris Apfel, 95, will host Q and A sessions on a trans-Atlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 late this summer.
Photo by Ron Adar


The Queen Mary 2 ship is offering a fashion-themed trans-Atlantic crossing with a celebrity guest who’s practically fashion royalty herself: 95-year-old Iris Apfel.

The inimitable Apfel is known for her irreverent style mixing haute couture with oversized costume jewelry and her trademark large round glasses. She’s been the subject of museum exhibits and a documentary film, “Iris,” that will be screened during the trip.

The trans-Atlantic trip departs Southampton, England, on Aug. 31 and arrives in New York on Sept. 7 in time for New York Fashion Week.

Apfel will host a Q-and-A onboard, but don’t expect any style tips. “Everybody should find her own way,” she said in a phone interview from her winter home in Palm Beach, Florida. “I’m a great one for individuality. I don’t like trends.

“If you get to learn who you are and what you look like and what you can handle, you’ll know what to do.”

The trip will also include runway shows and other guests from the world of fashion, including designer Julien Macdonald, industry consultant Gail Sackloff, and fashion historian Colin McDowell, along with actual models.

Apfel’s favorite contemporary designers include Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo and Naeem Khan, but she’s not looking to add to her closets.

“I have so much, I don’t go looking,” she said. “I’m in the process of deaccessioning and helping them build a fabulous fashion collection at the Peabody Essex Museum,” which is located in Salem, Mass. Apfel began donating pieces to the museum after it hosted an exhibit about her several years ago.

What’s her secret for a long and happy life?

“I have no secrets, I have no advice, except to love life and not give into yourself,” she said. “At a certain age, you have to push a bit, to be honest.

“Unless you have pneumonia or a broken hip and you can’t push yourself, you really have to. Once you do, you’ll find there’s a lot out there, and you won’t think of yourself.

“Get out there and help somebody. There are so many people that need a hand. Life is there and it’s wonderful, and it doesn’t last too long, so you might as well enjoy.”

Options for travel during Fashion Week: For 7 nights, from Aug. 31 through Sept. 7, fares start at $999 per person. For an additional 2 nights, with the trip beginning in Hamburg, Germany on Aug. 29, fares start at $2,107 per person. Visit                         —AP