When Tavi met Iris: Good Taste/Bad Taste, The Evolution of Contemporary chic

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations at the Met is on my list of must see exhibitions when I visit New York this summer and I would have loved to be able to see the not so impossible conversation between 16 year old blogger Tavi and my all time favourite 90 year old style icon, Iris Apfel.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition, the Met hosted the talk titled, Good Taste/Bad Taste: The Evolution of Contemporary chic, where The New Yorker’s Judith Thurman asked what it means to be chic in the twenty first century.

Coincidentally both Tavi and Iris turned up wearing complimentary colours – on trend mint green and neutrals – FYI.

I have pulled together what I can from online sources, so apologies for blatant plagiarism, but needs must.

Here are the highlights……

On women feeling a pressure to get dressed:
Iris Apfel: “When the fun goes out of it, you might as well be dead. You need to pursue your own fancy.”

On putting things together in the morning:
Iris Apfel: “If you put something on and it doesn’t look good, the fashion police aren’t going to come and take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.”

On personal taste:
Tavi: “I wish people thought of taste and style similarly to what people think of what it means to have a sense of humor.”

Iris Apfel: “People suffer from too much good taste and look uptight as a result”

On developing a personal sense of style:
Iris Apfel: “It’s like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch but you have to do it by yourself.”

Tavi: “Fashion is so much about fantasy and that’s why looking at runway collection or photo editorial can feel so isolating. But personal style is an opportunity to kind of create your own fantasy

On Miuccia Prada:
Tavi: “Prada’s clothes exist in a vacuum that lives outside of cultural influences.”

On Comme des Garçons’ bump collection:
Iris Apfel: “I see no sense in paying a fortune to look like a freak. I can look ugly on my own and it won’t cost me a penny.”

On relaxing at home:
Iris Apfel: “There’s nothing like a good old bathrobe.”

On the cosmetics industry:
Iris Apfel: “I was the oldest living broad to be given a cosmetics contract; and my collaboration with MAC was hideously successful.”

On growing old:
Iris Apfel: “I think there’s a big, big revolution undercover. Older women are coming out of the woodwork.”


The pair finished the talk by hatching a plan for the next Costume Institute show, based on the Advanced Style blog………

Tavi: “Fear of aging is sad and scary to me, I think John Waters said, first there were beatniks and then the hippies and then the punks, and right now I don’t really think there’s a counterculture like that. So the way to be rebellious now is —”

Judith Thurman: “To get old?”

Tavi: “To get away from the fetishization of youth,”

Iris Apfel: “That’s brilliant There are so many, many women that go crazy about aging in a very bad way for their own being… It would be a very healing show… Let’s sign on the dotted line.”


Also check out this inspirational TED talk by Tavi – a must see for your teen daughters!

Thanks to Fashionista and NYmag for additional info.


  • Amanda says:

    As well as being a brilliant idea to put these two together, don’t you love the easy front-room-furniture relaxedness of the set? Too often you see these awful corporate grey and black stages with some hideous logo somewhere. That really does look comfy, the rug underfoot makes it look like homey and the table looks as if it’s come from a flea store round the corner. Love it. A

  • lorna says:

    just as this middleaged woman was thinking -Tavi is so much sorted than I will ever be and so much more articulate ( ie deep in middle aged angst that is really no different from teenage angst – as it tuns out but with more cake)
    -she comes up with “Just be Stevie Nicks”
    praise the Lord I’m back in the game

  • steffi says:

    Reading this cheered me up big time. I feel so very good now. Thanks for posting.

  • jane says:

    Ha ha Jx

  • Love those two together… you can now watch the video (and embed it!) btw…

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