The 16th edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion is having a very special patroness: US interior designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel. On Friday, the show exclusively projected her biopic Iris, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and was directed by Albert Maysles, who passed away last March. The film tries to depict Apfel’s multifaceted personality, further delivering a privileged view on her vast fashion and jewelry collection. Together with her husband Carl, she founded Old World Weavers and went to some of the most exotic places on earth looking for fabrics. Moreover, she has worked in design restoration projects at the White House for presidents from Truman to Clinton. The global recognition as a style muse came by hand of an exhibition at the Costume Institute in 2005, when she was already in her eighties. As a non-digital-native, Apfel is suspicious about all the tech-gadgets that determine our lives today, especially on young people. “They don’t have a frame of reference anymore […]. In the main, there’s very little creativity around. I don’t see any unusual creative thing in the world of painting or music. It’s like beating a dead horse.” Apart from this, the now 93-year-old shared with us earlier this week her thoughts on style and how deeply connected with one’s personality it is.  Interview by Lorenzo Molina

You’ve been through so many decades in your life. Can you tell us which one the most interesting was for you when it comes to fashion?
I don’t think that way. Every decade has something worthwhile. All fashion reflects the social, economic and political life. Fashion is a reflection of the way we live. It’s something we do every day. I think in the future, people would be able to tell something about what we were by the way we dress. Fashion is also very status-oriented. In the States, you can look at somebody and see what zip code: whether downtown or Park Avenue… I guess people like to be clannish and feel safe and comfortable. I think it’s an awful thing to look like everybody else. There’s sometimes an emphasis to make you feel uncomfortable and say you must try to look unusual; and then you get uptight and upset. No matter how great you look: if you’re uncomfortable it’s no good. So then it’s better to be happy than well-dressed. But I do think people should try to make an effort and look pleasant so that when other people look at them they can smile.  

What was the most fun part of shooting the movie?
It was all fun. At my stage of the game, if I don’t have fun I don’t want to do it. It was all very relaxed and pleasant. We worked for a period of four years, but not consistently. Maybe we worked one year but then did nothing for the next eight months. Albert –the movie director- was travelling a lot, he was in the hospital, and I broke my hip…

Do you have an advice for young people concerning style?
You can’t teach anybody style. It comes in your DNA and you have to work on it. You cannot have it unless you know who you are. But you can’t know who you are unless you work at that. People want everything instantly these days. If you try to copy what I am it is not style any more. It has to come from you. Some people are minimalist, some are maximalist; some look well only when they really dress up while some look well in sports clothes. You have to develop who you are and what you’re comfortable with. Style to me is mostly attitude. Has nothing to do with how much money you have or how beautiful you’re clothes are. That helps of course but style is something from within.

Interior- and fashion design are two worlds that more and more coalesced in the past years. Designers like Paul Smith and brands like G-Star have collaborated with furnishing houses in recent times. Do you see a joint future of these disciplines?
They are part of the same spirit! That’s why so many fashion designers launch home collections. I know very few who don’t.