How Much Is Iris Apfel Worth?

Iris Apfel enjoyed an illustrious early career in textiles and interior design and secured later-in-life modeling gigs and endorsement deals, and, as she's defied every age-related stereotype, her bank account, has only increased — Apfel has an estimated net worth of approximately $22 to $25 million, according to outlets like Grazia and Celebrity Net Worth.


For Apfel, happiness and dressing well are best paired together — and the bigger and bolder the accessory, the better the look. It's no wonder she has become one of the most celebrated forces in fashion. And she has some fashion advice for her fans. "I think many people take it too seriously and my advice to them is to relax," the world's most glamorous centenarian told Ireland's Image in 2018. "If it's a chore, if looking well is a big problem and you're uptight about the way you look and it makes you nervous, forget it, it's better to be happy than well dressed."

Here's what we know about how Iris Apfel amassed her fortune and cemented her status as one of the fashion world's brightest lights.


An exhibition at the Met brought Iris Apfel international acclaim in 2005

Iris Apfel has always had an eye for style. In the 2014 documentary "Iris," directed by legendary "Grey Gardens" filmmaker Albert Maysles, Apfel shared that she started collecting accessories when she was as young as 11 (via Town & Country). "At that time you could ride the whole subway system for a nickel, so each week I would take a different section of New York — Chinatown, Yorkville, Harlem, Greenwich Village. And I really fell in love with the Village," the Queens native told The Guardian in an interview. "The first piece I ever bought was in Greenwich Village."


As Apfel grew up and continued collecting, her work in the textiles industry and as an interior designer led to frequent trips around the world — and more shopping. But it wasn't until Apfel was in her 80s that her storied personal collection began to be celebrated. Her friendship with Harold Koda, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, led to a last-minute exhibition of her pieces in 2005, "Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Apfel Collection," when the previously scheduled event fell through.

The show featured displays of Apfel's signature look: mixes of high-end designer pieces with fantastical flea market finds. "Rara Avis" was the first Costume Institute exhibition focused on "a living female who wasn't a designer," and it became a smash hit, launching Apfel into the fashion world stratosphere.


Iris Apfel started Old World Weavers with her husband, Carl, in 1950

In 1948, after a whirlwind courtship the year prior, Iris Apfel married her husband, Carl Apfel. "I figured he was cool and he was cuddly, and he cooked Chinese, so I couldn't do any better," she said in "Iris" (via Town & Country). Iris and Carl were married for 67 years, until Carl died in 2015 at age 100, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter.


Before the two became business partners, Iris studied art and art history, interned with an interior designer, and also worked as a copy editor for Women's Wear Daily. In 1950, she and Carl jumped into textiles and founded their own business, Old World Weavers, which specialized in restoring home furnishings. It was a leap for Iris, but just like with her flare for fashion, she dove right in. "I did everything," Apfel told CNBC in 2016. "I really learned from the bottom. I started a lot of things I didn't know anything about and I just learned as I went, which I think is a wonderful way to do it."

The Apfels' business soon took off and brought them great success in both the fabric and interior design worlds.


Iris Apfel worked on White House design projects from Truman to Clinton

The Apfels' business, Old World Weavers, was focused on fabrics and fabric reproductions, something that brought them overseas twice a year.

"We did exact reproductions of 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th century fabrics, and I would do my best to get them to be as close as possible to the original," Iris Apfel said in her 2014 documentary (via Town & Country). "That's why we traveled so much, because there is no one or two mills that can do everything." All the trips abroad to Europe and countries like Turkey and Morocco gave Iris extra opportunities to shop their markets and pick up unique items for both her fashion and home collections.


Old World Weavers reached greater levels of success when the Apfels started working on White House interior design projects for the Truman administration in the early 1950s. Their presidential partnership proved to be hugely successful, and the Apfels worked with every administration through President Bill Clinton's in the 1990s. In "Iris," Carl hinted at some creative differences when they worked with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1960s, but in 2018, Iris threw the real shade about another first-spouse client. At a 92Y Fashion Icons event (via Page Six), Iris said Pat Nixon did not have a knack for design. "She really didn't know anything at all," Iris said. But, as she also told 1stDibs, "She really cared passionately about the house. ... She came to all the meetings."


Iris Apfel's apartments are filled with quirky — and valuable — collectibles

In the 2014 documentary film "Iris," Iris and Carl Apfel welcomed acclaimed filmmaker Albert Maysles into their apartments in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. And as could be seen, the Apfels' living spaces are filled with everything from rare antiques and tapestries (via Architectural Digest).


Though many of the objets d'art appear more on the quirky side, everything Iris has collected over the years fits into her aesthetic ethos. "We just like to have fun," she told The Guardian in 2015. "And I think there's a difference between being childish and keeping a quality that's childlike. I'm very grown up in a lot of ways, but I think that's so sad — it's good to maintain a sense of wonder."

Also in her apartments, of course, are her thousands of accessories and clothes, with racks of designer garments filling entire rooms. That's just the way Iris likes it, as she told the U.K.'s Stylist in 2019: "I am lucky, I don't have just one item, I have many!"

At 96, Iris Apfel sign with a modeling agency

With the Met's 2005 exhibition of her accessories and clothes, Iris Apfel became a cultural phenomenon — and a fashion powerhouse. The popularity of the show led to increased media exposure and interest in Apfel's life and style when she was in her mid-80s and, in turn, many new business opportunities. The self-described "geriatric starlet" had been retired for more than a decade when the Met show ushered in a new era in her illustrious career (via The Guardian).


Brand endorsements and partnerships followed quickly, with Apfel eventually repping everything from Glossier and Kate Spade to Magnum Ice Cream. She also had a makeup line with MAC Cosmetics. In 2019, she made headlines when, at 97, she signed with a modeling agency, as noted by CNN. The year before that, she'd become the oldest person ever to have a Barbie doll made in her likeness.

Of her larger-than-life appeal, Apfel told The Guardian in 2015 that it all comes down to fun: "I go by the phone calls and the letters I receive from my fans, which are all kinds of people: 6-year-old girls, young women, guys. ... It's interesting with the guys, because they tell me that they see things in the way I dress that they don't see in their wives and girlfriends. ... Glamour, fantasy, humor, whimsy."


Iris Apfel expanded her brand to include fashion and accessories — and furniture

"My first big job in fashion came when I was 84, so as cliché as it is, age really is just a number to me," Iris Apfel told InStyle in 2021 about being more in demand in her 90s than ever before. "Being passionate about my projects and putting my heart and soul into them has kept me young. That's why I'll never stop working."


One of those many projects was a line of clothing and, of course, bold accessories for HSN that launched in 2011. It was important to Apfel that Rara Avis give off a certain kind of vibe, as she told The Palm Beach Post in 2019. The items had to be "fabulous, well-made, and so well-priced," she said. "I knock myself out to make them look expensive."

A line of furniture followed in 2017, with chaise lounges, dressing screens, and storage benches, among other pieces, in a variety of brightly colorful and unique designs in classic Iris Apfel style. In 2018, Apfel checked off another box on the superstar checklist — author — with the publication of her memoir, "Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon."

From emojis to dinnerware, Iris Apfel nevers says no to a good collab

Iris Apfel may not have known what emojis are when she was approached about developing her own, but that didn't stop the fashion icon from signing up for yet another deal in her long line of brand partnerships. "Everyone seems to like them, and I want everyone to have a good time," she told Town & Country in 2016 about the emoji tie-in for her "Iris Meets I.N.C." collection at Macy's. "If my face makes people happy, I'm all for it."


And though she told Bon Appetit in 2018 that she's never cooked regularly, her line for Grandin Road that year featured an assortment of dinnerware and entertaining pieces for the host looking to add some of Apfel's signature flare to their home.

As Apfel approached her 100th year, she showed no signs of slowing down, physically or professionally. "I'm constantly looking for new ways to express my personal style, improvise, and take chances," she told InStyle in 2021. "This year I've unveiled new partnerships, so I can share my style with others, everything from home décor to eyewear, and there are more in the works! I plan to keep challenging myself and opening new doors in the years ahead."


Iris Apfel has 2 million Instagram followers but isn't online herself!

"It is lovely to be fussed about like this in my dotage," Iris Apfel told The Guardian in 2015.

With over 2 million followers on Instagram, Apfel's page is certainly the subject of a lot of fuss. The style icon, though, isn't online, as she shared with Ireland's Image in 2018. She said that she has a designated person who runs her account and that she isn't interested in getting hooked by a smartphone. "I don't like social media at all," she said. "I think so much of it is unnecessary and I think so many people use it so badly. They use it in lieu of doing something themselves."


Despite Apfel's offline sensibilities, her Instagram account has provided another avenue for business success. Sponsored posts have been a regular revenue source, like with her 2021 partnerships with Lowe's and Zenni Optical. Apfel has also been able to advertise her many projects to fans through posts, from collabs with Fabricut to her very own coloring book.

Iris Apfel is busier than ever

Iris Apfel turned 100 in August of 2021, and the party was just as fabulous as you'd expect.

The celebration was held in September on the 100th floor of Central Park Tower, the tallest residential building in the world. A-listers were everywhere, from Katie Holmes and Halle Bailey to Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger, according to Today. Outfitted in a voluminous and frilly yellow ensemble from her 2022 collab with H&M, Apfel joked to the crowd of younger guests that she hadn't wanted to babysit on her big day!


As she entered her next century, Apfel told InStyle in 2021 that she's still excited by her work and is looking forward to what's next: "I keep pushing myself creatively because it keeps life fresh and fun, and it's good for me. I also love every single day to be different — and that only happens when you say yes to opportunities, and keep experimenting and being curious."