High fashion on the high seas with Iris Apfel, 95, as celebrity host on Queen Mary 2 cruise

Irreverent host who’ll answer passengers’ questions as liner heads to New York for Fashion Week says she doesn’t like trends and has no style tips other than to do your own thing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 4:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 4:02pm

The Queen Mary 2 cruise liner is offering a fashion-themed transatlantic crossing with a celebrity guest who’s practically fashion royalty herself: 95-year-old Iris Apfel.

The inimitable Apfel is known for her irreverent style mixing haute couture with oversized costume jewellery and her trademark large round glasses. She’s been the subject of museum exhibits and a documentary film, Iris, that will be screened during the trip.

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The transatlantic trip departs Southampton, England, on August 31 and arrives in New York on September 7 in time for New York Fashion Week.

Apfel will host a question-and-answer session on board, but don’t expect any style tips. “Everybody should find her own way,” she said from her winter home in Palm Beach, Florida. “I’m a great one for individuality. I don’t like trends. If you get to learn who you are and what you look like and what you can handle, you’ll know what to do.”

The trip will also include catwalk shows and feature guests from the world of fashion, including designer Julien Macdonald, industry consultant Gail Sackloff and fashion historian Colin McDowell, along with actual models.

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Apfel’s favourite contemporary designers include Ralph Rucci, Isabel Toledo and Naeem Khan, but she’s not looking to add to her closets. “I have so much, I don’t go looking,” she said. “I’m in the process of deaccessioning and helping them build a fabulous fashion collection at the Peabody Essex Museum.”

Apfel began donating pieces to the museum in Salem, in the US state of Massachusetts, after it hosted an exhibit about her several years ago.

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What’s her secret for a long and happy life?

“I have no secrets, I have no advice, except to love life and not give in to yourself,” she said. “At a certain age, you have to push a bit to be honest. Unless you have pneumonia or a broken hip and you can’t push yourself, you really have to. Once you do you’ll find there’s a lot out there and you won’t think of yourself. Get out there and help somebody. There are so many people that need a hand. Life is there and it’s wonderful.”