Iris (2014)

26 Feb

iris

The final film from famous documentarian Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens, Salesman, Gimme Shelter), Iris is a warm, intimate portrait of Iris Apfel, the famous interior decorator and fashion designer.

Iris offers a wonderfully uplifting view of the world — dismissing traditional notions of taste and beauty, Iris is a testament to staying true to who you are. In her case, such a strong combination of self-worth and personal style has meant adulation and praise from a variety of different designers and artists.

The decorator for a variety of famous institutions (including commissions for the White House), Iris’s story is fascinating — and her influence, as this documentary demonstrates, goes far beyond clothes. 93 at the time of filming, she is a sharp, funny centre to the madness which is her life. Demonstrating a wonderful level of self-awareness, Iris is such a captivating presence you wish the film was longer.

At 77 minutes, Iris feels both tight as a drum and remarkably expansive. Even if you  have no interest in clothes or interior design, Iris is as much fun as its subject, and packs far more substance than one would expect.

As an epitaph for the late, great Maysles, and as a portrait of an iconic outsider, Iris is worth a look.

 

By Tim George

 

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