|Iris Apfel, from a recent spread in How to Spend It|
For the past decade, the fashion world has been agog with Iris Apfel, who at 94, is probably the oldest living fashionista.
|Wearing Gucci in 2016|
It really started when the Met did a show of her clothes and accessories in 2005.
|A few years ago, with her husband|
And I get it. She's colorful. She's a good mannequin. And with the trademark piling on of accessories and the huge glasses, she's instantly recognizable in that way that you're supposed to be when you're a brand.
But I don't like her style. It feels like a stunt. She sort of reminds me of a matryoshka doll--lots of pattern, no line. It's artistic—an endless pile-on, eclectic, expansive—always more, never less—like wearing a slide show of one's travels.
|Wearing Gucci in the 1980s|
I much prefer Jacqueline de Ribes. She lived in a time and in circles where formal balls and even masked costume balls were still a thing. And she put together some amazing costumes.
|In Dior, in 1957|
Always elegant, she made the Best Dressed List in 1956, and was added to the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame in 1962. She didn't just wear couture, either. She went from tinkering with her clothes to create costumes to designing her own gowns. Eventually, she had her own design house.
|In 1985 in one of her own designs|
She kept her regal profile.
|Wearing one of her own designs|
It seems inconsistent that I would prefer de Ribes to Apfel, since I have a pretty lively sense of humor. And I certainly never under-accessorize. I've been known to sport the wacky: Zalo pumps with parrots on the toes; Batman loafers; crazy huge obviously fake costume jewelry galore.
I guess there's still a large part of me that wants to dress like a real grown-up lady. And so, while I "get" Iris, I admire Jacqueline, and look to her, less for inspiration, more as a refreshment to my eyes.
But who cares what I think? Let's let Iris have the last word.