The world has mourned the loss of a fashion legend.

Renowned designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel passed away at the age of 102.

The news was shared on the designer's verified Instagram account on March 1.

"Iris Barrel Apfel, August 29, 1921 — March 1, 2024," the account posted alongside a photo of Apfel adorned in a gold and black gown, captured by one of her favored photographers, Ruven Afanador.

Her representative, Lori Sale, also verified Apfel's passing to

The fashion icon, recognized for her distinctive large-rimmed glasses and flamboyant outfits, was born on August 29, 1921, in Queens, New York.

In her youth, she worked at Women’s Wear Daily and pursued interior design studies under Elinor Johnson. According to Sale, this is where she "honed her skill in décor that would transcend decades as she redressed homes for resale and lent her keen eye to sourcing the magical."

Subsequently, Apfel and her husband, Carl Apfel (who passed away in 2015), established Old World Weavers. The company specialized in selling and restoring historic textiles, including work at the White House, where they served during nine presidencies. CNBC reported that it was at the White House where she earned the moniker "First Lady of Fabric" or "Our Lady of the Cloth."

Following her retirement from Old World Weavers in 1992, Apfel, a prominent figure in New York City, became renowned for her eclectic and vibrant style. The New York Times reported that her extravagant wardrobe served as the inspiration for a last-minute exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2005.

"This is no collection. It’s a raid on my closet," she humorously remarked to the New York Times in 2005 about the exhibit. "I always thought to show at the Met you had to be dead."

The exhibit proved to be a tremendous success, catapulting Apfel to newfound fame in the subsequent years. She became a celebrated figure, featuring prominently in magazine spreads and ad campaigns. Apfel also assumed the role of a visiting professor at the University of Texas, and her iconic outfits were immortalized in an Eric Boman coffee table book.

"When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else," Iris Apfel candidly shared with The New York Times in 2011.

In 2018, Apfel authored a memoir titled "Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon," where she addressed her frequently worn oversized eyeglasses: "Why do I wear such large glasses? The bigger to see you with, my dear," she wrote. "Anyway, you have to have fun. If you can’t have fun, you might as well be dead."

Even after turning 100, Apfel expressed her love for being creative and stated that she would never retire in an interview with in April 2022.

“Oh, I love to work. It’s fun because I enjoy it,” Apfel said at the time. “And then I can help people. I can give employment. People tell me I inspire them. So many good things come out of it. I think retiring at any age is a fate worse than death. Just because a number comes up doesn’t mean you have to stop.”

She added, “I love giving back. If God is good to you, you have to give back.”

Apfel’s passion for textiles began during her childhood at her grandparents’ home, where she played with leftover fabric scraps, according to CNBC. Throughout her life, she followed her instincts.

“I don’t verbalize it. I just feel it. If it feels right here,” she said, pointing to her heart, “then it’s right.”

Regarding her inspiration, she admitted, “I’m experimental, I’m curious, I like to try new things. I do what feels right. I improvise,” Apfel added. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s always exciting.”

In a tribute email to, Apfel's representative, Lori Sale, celebrated the late designer's wit and distinctive eyewear.

“Iris Apfel was extraordinary. Working alongside her was the honor of a lifetime. I will miss her daily calls, always greeted with the familiar question: 'What have you got for me today?’” Sale told YEPPOST. “She was a visionary in every sense of the word. She saw the world through a unique lens — one adorned with giant, distinctive spectacles that sat atop her nose. Through those lenses, she saw the world as a kaleidoscope of color, a canvas of patterns and prints. Her artistic eye transformed the mundane into the extraordinary, and her ability to blend the unconventional with the elegant was nothing short of magical."