Every artist has her preferred medium, whether painting on canvas, chiseling marble or exposing negatives. For 93-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel, her tools of the trade are eye-catching clothes and accessories, and she's her own walking work of art.
Apfel is the subject of "Iris," one of the final films directed by Albert Maysles, the groundbreaking documentarian who died at age 88 last week, and a new trailer offers a glimpse of her idiosyncratic, enduring sense of style.
A textile designer who has done work for the White House and been the subject of an exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Met, Apfel is instantly recognizable in her oversize round spectacles, flamboyant outfits and overflowing costume jewelry.
At one point in the trailer, she recalls being told by department store founder Frieda Loehmann, "You're not pretty, and you'll never be pretty. But it doesn't matter. You have something much better: You have style."
As a filmmaker, Maysles was no stranger to colorful subjects, having profiled the aging debutante Edith Beale in "Grey Gardens" (another unlikely style maven) and members of the Rolling Stones in "Gimme Shelter," to name but a few.
Speaking to The Times about "Iris" late last year, Maysles said he was partially inspired by memories of his mother, a kind, nurturing woman. And, he said simply of Apfel, "What I really liked and wanted to show was the glasses."
"Iris" opens April 29 in New York, May 1 in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and will expand into more theaters in the following weeks.