Iris Apfel

Iris is a documentary that seems never to end and should probably never have been begun.

The late filmmaker Albert Maysles, a name inscribed in legend (Gimme Shelter) and lavished with peer-approval love bites (“the best American cameraman”, J-L Godard), completed before his recent death this portrait of the eccentric New York fashion guru Iris Apfel.

Hers was a piquant life: boutique owner, interior decor adviser to the White House. But in her nineties Iris — more briskly and beatifically caught in the 2010 documentary Bill Cunningham New York — has run out of fresh things to say and do. The Iris outfits, combining haute couture labels with clearance-sale clobber (and beads, beads, beads), still impress with their bunged-together elan. The Iris output, a verbal voguing of drawling “wisdoms” and waspish put-downs, is ready to wear in a whole different sense: wearing our patience and politeness after 18 minutes, never mind 80.

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