Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Iris Apfel

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Words: Kee Foong

Iris Apfel

You can look chic or elegant at any age. You don’t have to adhere to rules about not wearing this or that, but you do have to be intelligent about it. I don’t think it’s my place to tell anybody how to dress, people should be individual and learn how to do things for themselves. Know who you are, what you’re comfortable in, what your lifestyle is and how much you can afford. Everybody should look different – it’s better to be happy than well dressed.

Today I’m wearing a coat from Afghanistan, Chinese silver jewellery, couture red silk trousers and red velvet Ferragamo shoes. I love ethnic jewellery. I like Arabic jewellery, Chinese, Tibetan, Native American, anything that’s big and bold.

Ralph Rucci is a wonderful designer. I like Isabella Toledo, Naeem Khan and Duro Olowu. These people are all creative and I know their craft and they know what they’re doing. So many of these new designers are just media freaks.

I’m almost 96 so I’ve had a few shopping trips in my day, though I don’t shop much these days. A lot of things in my collection are vintage because I’ve had them for a long time. I’m not one to throw clothes away just because it’s no longer in fashion.

I love markets. I like the Puces in Paris, you never know what you’re going to find. New York had good markets but they’ve gone because real estate is so expensive.

I’ve travelled extensively through the Middle East and North Africa, though this is my first time in Hong Kong. I like exotic places. I can’t leave home without jewellery, glasses and pyjamas, and I never travel without my special down pillow and neck pillow.

I don’t wear makeup except when I’m on camera. I’m always in a hurry so I keep it simple – a hair brush, nailbrush, moisturiser from the drug store, and lipstick.

There’s very little originality these days, I’m always looking for that. Usually what’s original now is so far out and crazy, it’s not wearable. I like avant-garde and I like far out but I don’t like insanity.

There is too much technology (social media) in life, there has to be some mystery and glamour left, a sense of fantasy.


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