“The old bag is getting into bags,” laughed Iris Apfel, whose offbeat humor and lightning-quick intellect belies her age. At 90, the fashionista and “geriatric starlet,” as she likes to call herself, is entering a new phase of her life: handbag designer.
Inspired by her own wardrobe, Apfel has created a collection of exotic handbags, featuring Mongolian lamb, hair calf and snakeskin, which will retail for between $228 and $398. “It’s well-priced. There’s not much around this price point,” she said. “I’m a great believer that a lot of people on this planet want good design and high quality at a price.”
“When I met Iris, I told her I’m the last of a dying breed, and she shot back, ‘If you’re the end of a dying breed, then I must be extinct,’” Nunziata said. Based on that exchange, the two came up with the collection’s name, Extinctions.
“I’m a color person. I’ve never been known to play it safe,” she said. “Plus I like big bags. My eyeglasses are so big they don’t fit into smaller bags.” With 12 styles to choose from in five colors, the collection is set to hit better department stores in October. Nunziata and Apfel are already planning on resort and spring collections for next year, which will include unique fabrications, such as bags incorporating handwoven fabric from France.