Iris Apfel says there's 'no passion left' in the fashion industry (Exclusive)

At 97 years old, Iris Apfel signed with one of the biggest global modeling agencies, IMG. But before securing the same team that manages Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Joan Smalls and Hailey Bieber, the now 98-year-old style superstar still had brands like MAC and Kate Spade calling her up, even without an agent.

"I thought it was funny. I was flattered. I've been working a long time without them and I think the whole thing is very amusing that all of a sudden I'm so famous," Apfel told AOL about signing to IMG.

Known for her fearless and colorful approach to fashion, Apfel's unwitting influence embodies everything it means to be a fashion legend. She is an accidental icon whose authenticity is unmatched in today's industry. 

"Everything is missing from the fashion industry. There seems to be no passion left and everybody copies everybody else. Everybody seems to be afraid to do anything new. It's too much of the same old-same old," she explained to AOL's Laura Galvan at the Bernardaud Porcelain flagship store in NYC.

"I worry about [the future of fashion]. It needs to perk up. I mean, if it keeps going this way, it's really going to run itself into the ground."

Even though Iris may feel that the industry is lacking creativity, the style maker is still determined to put her personal touches wherever she can. For her latest project, Iris teamed up with Michel Bernardaud to create a line of luxury porcelain jewelry. The collection, titled Be Bold Over, naturally highlights Apfel's special relationship with her accessories.

"I think jewelry is most transformative part of a women's wardrobe because you can take the same outfit and change the jewelry and have a completely different looking outfit," she explained to AOL. 

31 PHOTOS
Iris Apfel over the years
See Gallery
Iris Apfel over the years
499 PARK AVENUE (59TH AND PARK), NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2019/09/12: Iris Apfel and Michel Bernardaud attend the launch of the jewellery collaboration at Bernardaud Boutique in New York. (Photo by Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
499 PARK AVENUE (59TH AND PARK), NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2019/09/12: Iris Apfel attends the launch of her jewellery collaboration at Bernardaud Boutique in New York. (Photo by Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 02: Iris Apfel attends the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation's Ninth Annual Fall Symposium + Luncheon at The Pierre Hotel on November 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY SEPTEMBER 09: Iris Apfel poses backstage at 'My Life On A Diet' at the Theatre at St Clement's Church on September 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo By Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Iris Apfel attends the 22nd Annual Accessories Council ACE Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Designer Iris Apfel(L) and Fern Mallis pose for a photo at 92nd Street Y on May 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: Iris Apfel attends the premiere of 'Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards', hosted by Manolo Blahnik with The Cinema Society at The Frick Collection on September 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Iris Apfel attends the Calvin Klein Collection fashion show during New York Fashion Week on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 11: Iris Apfel attends the Iris Apfel Dinner previewing her HSN Collection at The Polo Bar on April 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for HSN)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: Iris Apfel attends the 4th Annual 'Eight Over Eighty' Benefit Gala Honors at Mandarin Oriental New York on April 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Iris Apfel attends 17th Edition of LOOT: MAD About Jewelry at Museum Of Arts And Design on April 3, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Recipient of the Icon Award, Iris Apfel attends the 30th FN Achievement awards at IAC Headquarters on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Iris Apfel attends Fashion Group International's 2016 Night of Stars at Cipriani Wall Street on October 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Fashion maven Iris Apfel boxes New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the TAG Heuer 'Don't Crack Under Pressure' Muhammad Ali tribute at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn on October 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 6: Iris Apfel attends Iris Apfel x Happy Socks Launch at Gramercy Park Hotel on October 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Iris Apfel & Happy Socks)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Iris Apfel discusses the 'Iris Meets INC' fall fashion colection at Macys Hearlad Square on September 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: Iris Apfel attends the Naeem Khan fashion show during September 2016 New York Fashion Week at The Arc, Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)
Portrait of, from left, American businesswoman Iris Apfel, her husband Carl Apfel, and Italian fashion designer Mariuccia Mandelli as they attend the latter's Krizia exhibit at the Grey Art Gallery, New York, New York, 1999. (Photo by Rose Hartman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 27: Iris Apfel attends "FIGHTER": An Exhibition of Photographs of the Fighters of the UFC by REED KRAKOFF at Staley Wise Gallery on October 27, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by JOE SCHILDHORN/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 20: Arlene Dahl and Iris Apfel attend "LIGHT YEARS" - LIGHTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL Salutes the Arts at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 20, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - DECEMBER 8: Iris Apfel and Barbara Bloemink attend Cooper-Hewitt FASHION IN COLORS Exhibition Opening and Reception at Cooper-Hewitt on December 8, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 19: Ralph Rucci and Iris Apfel attend FIT's Couture Council to Honor Ralph Rucci at Brasserie 8 1/2 on October 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Photo by L.Wigger/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - JULY 24: Iris Apfel attends TRACY STERN "Dinner Takes All" Garden Party with Swank Productions and SalonTEA at L'OLIVIER on July 24, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Iris Apfel (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 19: Iris Apfel attends BERGDORF GOODMAN hosts Moschino Dinner in honor of Rossella Jardini at Bergdorf Goodman on October 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: Iris Apfel attends LTB MEDIA Presents its Newest Publication CULTURE AND TRAVEL at The Louise T Blouin MacBain Residence on September 26, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY, NY - OCTOBER 7: Iris Apfel and Carl Apfel attend Kips Bay Decorator Show House Presidentís Preview at 106 East 71st St on October 7, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by SHAUN MADER/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Iris Apfel attend(s) PAPER MAGAZINE'S KIM HASTREITER hosts a private luncheon to celebrate WOMANITY by THIERRY MUGLER at The Four Seasons Restaurant on September 28th, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Hunt/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 04: Saint Louis Fund 2015 Honoree Iris Apfel accepts her award during the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Gala 2015 on November 4, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images for Saint Louis Fashion Fund)
ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 04: Honoree Iris Apfel attends the runway presentation at Caleres Emerging Designer Award Presented by Saint Louis Fashion Fund during Saint Louis Fashion Week on November 4, 2015 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Fernando Leon/Getty Images for Saint Louis Fashion Fund)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Iris Apfel and Christie Brinkley pose backstage as Christie Brinkley returns to the hit musical "Chicago" on Broadway at The Ambassador Theater on April 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

From running a textile firm in the 1950's (which included White House restoration projects for nine presidents) to her time at Women's Wear Daily, Apfel has contributed to over half a century of fashion.

"Every era of fashion had something good and something not so good. Some eras I like better but I don't like having favorites. There are to many good things."

And as for her legacy? "I don't like to think about a legacy."

Shop the Be Bold Over collection by Iris Apfel collection here.

Read Full Story