100-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel reveals why she’ll never retire: ‘A fate worse than death’

 (Getty Images for Central Park To)
(Getty Images for Central Park To)

Fashion icon Iris Apfel, who turned 100 in August, has spoken candidly about her age, and why she’ll never retire.

The fashion designer discussed her career during a recent interview withToday, where she shared how much she enjoys being creative. According to Apfel, so many “good things” have come out of her career, and even though she’s gotten older, it doesn’t mean that she has to stop working.

“Oh, I love to work. It’s fun because I enjoy it,” she said. “And then I can help people. I can give employment. People tell me I inspire them. So many good things come out of it.”

“I think retiring at any age is a fate worse than death,” she continued. “Just because a number comes up doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

Apfel also confirmed that, when she turned 100 last August, she didn’t see it as a reason to “change” her lifestyle or career “overnight”.

“I didn’t change overnight because the number changed,” she said. “I want to keep on working and doing different projects.”

She told Today that her motto at work is to “just do what [she]” feels, with the fashion designer noting that this means doing what she feels in her heart rather than “verbalising” it.

“I just feel it. If it feels right here,” she said, pointing at her heart.

Apfel, who recently partnered with H&M on a colourful capsule collection, also emphasised the importance of being yourself, claiming that one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the fashion industry is “looking in the mirror and seeing somebody else”.

“It happens so often,” she said. “People just don’t know who they are and they try to be like everybody, and it’s very sad.”

The interior designer has previously opened up about her age and how she stays healthy. During an interview withPeople last September, shortly after she turned 100, Apfel explained that while she doesn’t have a specific wellness “plan,” there are certain foods she avoids.

“I really don’t feel any differently than I felt a couple of years ago,” she explained. “The doctors treat me like a coddled egg, and I try to be as careful as possible, but I don’t have an organised [wellness] plan. I have always eaten very well. I trained myself to never eat junk food. I don’t drink soda and very rarely drink [alcohol]. Periodically I exercise.”

Aside from diet and exercise, she acknowledged how one’s “attitude” can impact how old they actually feel.

“It’s a matter of the way you look at things. I know 30-year-old people who are old and 90-year-old people who are young,” she said. “Everything is your attitude. When you think about things a certain way, you look a certain way.”