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Apfel turned 102 on Aug. 29, and in celebration, fashion contemporaries gathered to honor the designer while also sharing heartfelt tributes on social media
Happy 102nd birthday, Iris Apfel!
The fashion world made the New York City-based designer's milestone day on Aug. 29 a special one, with loved ones and industry contemporaries gathering to honor the interior designer while also sharing heartfelt tributes across social media.
Christie Brinkley shared a series of videos and photos from Apfel's birthday celebrations early Tuesday, featuring the designer plus Donna Karan and Brinkley's daughter Alexa Ray Joel at an intimate dinner at Tutto il Giorno in The Hamptons, New York, at which the women lavished her with fashionable gifts.
"Happy Birthday to Iris! She’s 102 and she’s got more style than me and you," Brinkley, 69, wrote in her lengthy rhyming tribute. She the Queen of fashion who gets better every year. And todays her birthday did you hear? She’s got her trademark glasses and a wardrobe of fun and we wish her every happiness under the sun She’s s smart snd savvy snd extremely witty and she wants everyone to know that individuality’s always pretty that we should all be ourselves one of a kind. Good advice like that’s hard to find so thank you Iris for all you do To say to people 'you do you!' (Like you do so well! ) Happy Birthday Iris! We LOVE YOU!"
Sporting a typically flamboyant fuzzy jacket with statement jewelry, Apfel paired the birthday look with her recognizable oversized black glasses, which have been her trademark for decades.
She posted her own birthday Instagram, too, writing alongside a festive photo set to Kool & The Gang's "Celebration," "102 TODAY… who would’ve thought!!"
Among Apfel's 2.8 million Instagram followers, a host of fans and fashion watchers posted their birthday blessings, including Christina Hendricks, who commented on Apfel's own birthday post, "Happy Birthday! You are a beautiful legend." Kyle Richards, Daisy Fuentes (who wrote, "You are goals!") and Kimberly Williams Paisley were among other well-wishers.
Having first entered the world of fashion as a young writer for Women's Wear Daily, Apfel continued her upward career trajectory by transitioning into interior design, founding her textile company Old World Weavers with her husband Carl in 1951. While working in the textile industry, Apfel reproduced historic fabrics across nine White House administrations, including for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
In 2005, at age 84, Apfel was introduced to a wider audience, becoming a national sensation when the Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed her closet archives filled with colorful, scene-stealing outfits and bold accessories collected from her years of international travel. She quickly became a darling of the fashion world because of her sharp wit and sartorial choices that defied her age.
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Apfel did not have children with her late husband Carl, whom she was married to for nearly 70 years before his death in 2015.
In an interview with PEOPLE years back, Apfel said she had been keeping herself busy "to the point of insanity,” including starring in clothing line Blue Illusions’s Spring 2016 ad campaign; releasing a coloring book during the COVID-19 pandemic; partnering with British beauty brand Ciaté London for a capsule collection; and launching the Iris Apfel x H&M collection with the Swedish clothing retailer in 2022.
"I never expected to be a celebrity," the self-proclaimed "Energizer Bunny" revealed to PEOPLE in 2020. "I've never had a business plan, but opportunities came, and I took them."
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