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Iris Apfel Documentary Review

When I think of Netflix, I think of mindlessly binge watching shows with a Costco-sized bag of Skinny Pop for so long my body begins to morph into my couch. Even though I wish it was, I have to admit it’s hardly an educational experience.

But in an effort to truly fulfill my “new year, new me” 2017 resolution, I decided to put my Netflix habit to use and try and educate myself a little. Instead of choosing from my typical “suggested for you” or “recently watched” sections, I opted for a documentary called “Iris Apfel.”

Even though it wasn’t a fast paced, overly dramatic series like I normally watch on Netflix,  the 139 minutes of my life I spent watching “Iris Apfel” was 139 minutes I would gladly spend again. Not only was it entertaining, but I had also learned a lot and even felt inspired by the time the credits rolled.

Iris Apfel, also known as the “rare bird of fashion,” is a 95-year-old woman who made a name for herself because of her fashion sense, eccentricness and unwavering sense of self. Initially, she was well-known for her work as an interior designer who found unique pieces and fabrics with A-list clientele. In the height of her career, she was traveling to and from Europe twice a year, and within the documentary there is actual film of a much younger Apfel walking around meeting with vendors in Europe.

Throughout the documentary, not only do the old pictures and film clips help show Iris’s life, but the many shots of her oversized jewelry and intricate clothes show how style dominates Iris’ life. From hand woven persian coats, to $2 bracelets found at consignment shops, to her signature oversized glasses Iris is truly looks like a colorful bird.

But her incredible quotes she has throughout the film show her true personality and make the documentary worth watching. My personal favorite is when she talks about the concept of being pretty.

She explains that she “doesn’t happen to like pretty. Most of the world is not with [her] but [she] doesn’t care.” She says that knows women who relied on their looks their entire life, and now that they are older are “nothing.” And she has found that making herself more interesting in other ways, rather than just her looks is what matters.

It is quotes like this that made this documentary so special. Iris’ life advice about being yourself, and making your mark on the world are things that all women should hear. She inspired me to not second guess myself, and to never be afraid to stand out.

Iris’ documentary was well worth forgoing my usual Netflix habits, and I highly suggest it for anyone who wants to learn a little and be inspired.


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Claire Pottenger

Claire Pottenger is a senior at Shawnee Mission East. She is the is Co-Editor-in-Chief for print and has been on staff for three years. She is a varsity volleyball player, a SHARE Chairperson, and participates in Kansas DECA. Read Full »

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