Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson Talk Style, Being a 'Freak', and Going to Fashion Jail

Early last week we told you that Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson would be sitting down at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to discuss what it means to be
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Early last week we told you that Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson would be sitting down at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to discuss what it means to be
Photo: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early last week we told you that Iris Apfel and Tavi Gevinson would be sitting down at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to discuss what it means to be chic in the modern world. Well, yesterday they convened in an auditorium located just off the Egyptian wing to talk good taste, bad taste, and being a "freak."

The discussion was a lively one, with Apfel claiming that she’s “the world’s oldest living teenager,” while Gevinson spoke with an eloquence far beyond her 16 years--it was almost as if their 74-year age gap had been reversed. And interestingly enough, the two had already met before, as Gevinson told us, “We met briefly at a Rodarte show and then the party for [the blog] Advanced Style." Apfel added, “She came to visit me one evening in December, it was supposed to be a little chat and I think it lasted three to four hours, it was wonderful.” The two even wore a matching color palette, which turned out to be pure coincidence. “You see, we’re on the same wavelength, we didn’t talk or anything and yet we coordinate,” Apfel explained.

While the moderated chat was full of memorable quips, the moment that drew the most audience applause was when Apfel spoke about the hardships of aging in a youth-centric society. When moderator Judith Thurman asked if Apfel would like to see a Costume Institute exhibit devoted to the style of her peer group, the style icon responded, “That would be a very healing show.” Here are some of our favorite tidbits from the enlightening conversation between the two style mavens.

On women feeling a pressure to get dressed: Iris Apfel: “When the fun goes out of it, you might as well be dead. You need to pursue your own fancy.”

On putting things together in the morning: Iris Apfel: “If you put something on and it doesn’t look good, the fashion police aren’t going to come and take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.”

On personal taste: Tavi Gevinson: “I wish people thought of taste and style similarly to what people think of what it means to have a sense of humor.”

On developing a personal sense of style: Iris Apfel: “It’s like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch but you have to do it by yourself.”

On Miuccia Prada: Tavi Gevinson: “Prada’s clothes exist in a vacuum that lives outside of cultural influences.”

On Comme des Garçons’ bump collection: Iris Apfel: “I see no sense in paying a fortune to look like a freak. I can look ugly on my own and it won’t cost me a penny.”

On relaxing at home: Iris Apfel: “There’s nothing like a good old bathrobe.”

On the cosmetics industry: Iris Apfel: “I was the oldest living broad to be given a cosmetics contract; and my collaboration with MAC was hideously successful.”