Bold bangles, oversized eyeglasses and an ebullient color palette have always been the signatures of fashion icon Iris Apfel’s much-admired aesthetic and head-turning personal style. Though she’s known for her fashion statements, she has also honed her beauty look—specifically her orangey red lipstick that she’s never seen without—and that’s exactly why Ciaté London wanted to partner with the celebrated centenarian.
“Iris has been on my wish list for more years than I would even want to admit,” says Charlotte Knight, founder and CEO of Ciaté London. “She’s such an iconic, inspirational, vivacious woman. She’s bold and truly unforgettable. We love that she’s renowned for her humorous, no nonsense attitude to life. That really embodies the Ciaté woman. She has a wealth of worldly wisdom that she has built over 100 years. The decades of makeup that Iris has seen in her lifetime is incredible. She’s a true trailblazer of a generation, encouraging everyone to see the beauty and feel good about ourselves. I always knew I wanted to work with her, but going through the experience and actually creating products and getting to know her, she’s even more incredible than I thought.”
A living legend, Apfel is a businesswoman, fashion stylist, interior designer and model who is famous for always expressing herself. “My beauty and makeup style has grown along with me; as I’ve grown and evolved, so has my beauty style,” Apfel says. “I love wearing brightly colored lipstick and interesting eyeshadow colors to complement the fashion I wear. One item I really couldn’t live without is a bright, bright lipstick.”
This collection marks Apfel’s first cosmetics collaboration with a British beauty brand and is available stateside exclusively at Nordstrom. The eight-piece collection includes the Ciaté London x Iris Apfel The Cheat Sheet Nail Wraps, with bright designs featuring Apfel’s face, signature oversized eyeglass frames, red lips and bold polka dots, to name a few. Then there’s the Ciaté London x Iris Apfel The Creamy Gloss Lipsticks, tinted gloss with a hint of pigment for buildable color available in three universal shades: bright orange red, rosy hot pink and nude pink. The Ciaté London x Iris Apfel The Eyeshadow Palettes come in two color combinations, both featuring everyday bronzes with a pop color; one has bold purple and the other turquoise. The wet and dry formulas include soft mattes and shimmers to create both casual and high glamour looks. Admire your new looks in The Collectible Hand-Held Mirror that has Apfel’s pop art-style visage splayed across the back. Finally, everything can be tucked into The Collectible Makeup Bag, adorned with Apfel’s face and a few of her icons.
“The world is a very gray place and I wanted to do a happy, joyful collection to chase the blues away,” Apfel says. “Charlotte Knight isn’t afraid to play around with bright, bold colors and the formulas of Ciaté products I know are of the highest standards. I really found the collaboration delicious. It was so much fun—they let me play with the colors that I wanted to explore.”
A true collaboration, Apfel oversaw every little detail of the collection. In the ideation stage, she created mood boards that nodded to iconic staples from her wardrobe as well as her globetrotting adventures. “It was a super collaborative process,” Knight says. “Iris knew exactly what she wanted and would not stop until we got it exactly right. She is so meticulous in everything that she does. When it came down to the formula, it was all about how comfortable the lipstick was to wear and how much pigment was in it. We made sure that there’s an element of Iris and her passion coming through in the entire collection. Hundreds of FedEx parcels back and forth later, we’ve got it exactly right.”
No stranger to collaboration, Ciaté London recently partnered with Christine Quinn and Edna Mode, and even previously teamed up with Miss Piggy. “We absolutely love collaborating,” Knight says. “Over the years, we’ve collaborated with some absolutely incredible iconic characters and women. We love to partner with empowering, strong women that promote self-worth and encourage others to reach their full potential. We encourage this in every aspect of our lives; our company is 93% women and I’m obviously a female founder. Collaborating with these types of women is what fuels us to be better and do better every single day.”
Though Knight is at the helm of her own beauty brand, she still learned a lot from Apfel by working with her. “Iris has a very strong opinion about beauty,” Knight says. “For her, it’s staying original and not falling into the trap of following trends. She says that the greatest faux pas is looking in the mirror and feeling like somebody else. That’s such a beautiful way to view beauty, especially today more than ever, because with social media people have this pressure on themselves to alter the way that they look, with filters or Facetune, or they need to compare themselves to others. Iris really opened our eyes as a beauty brand. It’s an empowering way to look at beauty and one that I will take with me for the rest of my life and certainly teach my nearly 17-year-old daughter.”
It’s no surprise that Apfel’s beauty philosophy is much like her approach to fashion. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; it is an individual problem,” Apfel says. The Ciaté London x Iris Apfel collection encourages everyone to celebrate their unique beauty and be themselves. Knight adds, “It also allows everyone to own a little piece of Iris forevermore, which is so incredible. Obviously, the collection would not be complete without Iris’s go-to bold orangey-red lipstick. There’s a little bit of Iris coming through in every way.”