Movie review: Joyful ‘Iris’ a loving look at a fashion icon
‘Iris” is a joyful look at an aging eccentric and an examination of the playful nature of design and fashion; it likely won’t change your life, but will bring a smile to your face.
Legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles (“Grey Gardens”), who passed away in March, turns his kindly lens on 93-year-old fashion icon Iris Apfel, known for her giant spectacles, colorful garb and heavily layered, gaudy jewelry. Opinionated, worldly and spunky in the way that movies prefer 93-year-olds to be, Iris is the rich relation everyone wishes they had.
Never a great beauty, Iris apparently always had a sense of style. She and her husband Carl — who turns 100 in the film — started out as interior designers, traveling the world every year collecting fabrics, knick-knacks and furniture that they used in refurbishing all sorts of grand manors, including the White House.
Next, they started their own fabric company, which was also a huge success, while Iris cultivated her fashion style. A serial buyer with something of a consumption addiction, Iris ended up with countless clothes and doo-dads, which fill her many storage spaces. The woman’s clothes have clothes.
One of the great joys of “Iris” — and Maysles certainly knew this — is simply hanging out in her apartments (New York and Florida), which are coordinated riots of gonzo acquisitions — kooky lamps, old toys, paintings, pictures and keepsakes make the places resemble high-end pawn shops curated by Andy Warhol.
When Iris goes to dress mannequins for a ritzy department store window with her own clothes, the genius of her visions — layer that on that and add this — becomes clear. The woman is a wonder.
Rated PG-13 for some strong language
Running time: 83 minutes