On Thursday, the celebrated fashion designer and muse celebrated her 100th birthday on the 100th floor of the world’s tallest residential building, Central Park Tower, for a who’s who Manhattan bash fit for a queen.
Sponsored by Harper’s Bazaar and H&M, the event, which took place during New York Fashion Week, drew a crowd of Hollywood and fashion A-listers including Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Katie Holmes, Barbie Ferreira, Halle Bailey, Timo Weiland, Fern Mallis, Alexis Bittar and Aaron Rose Philip. (According to WWD, guests had to take a rapid COVID-19 test upon entry to be admitted to the star-studded blowout.)
Musician Michael Feinstein serenaded Apfel with the traditional “Happy Birthday” tune followed by a personalized version of “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore” from the classic Broadway show, “Gigi,” incorporating Apfel into the song’s lyrics.
Decked out in a bright yellow ensemble from her H&M collection and her trademark, oversized oval black glasses, Apfel jokingly commented about hanging out with a bunch of 50 year-olds on her 100th birthday, and that she hadn’t planned on babysitting during the occasion. And when asked about how it feels being 100 years old, she replied it has only been a couple of days.
Apfel was born in New York City on August 29, 1921. Spending time with her grandparents in Brooklyn sparked her interest in textiles after seeing large amounts of fabric scraps her older relatives used to sew items for charity.
Apfel and her late husband Carl Apfel, who also lived to be 100, owned Old World Weavers from 1950 to 1992. Over four decades, the duo worked for nine White House administrations, running from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton, earning Apfel the nickname “First Lady of Fabric.”
Today, Apfel is famous for her eclectic style of layering bright colors and patterns while pairing oversized accessories together, especially her signature black glasses. In an interview with TODAY's in 2018, the fashion icon said the secret to fashion success is: “You have to be original, but not to the point of nutsy.”
She added, "You have to be true to yourself, you have to know yourself. Not be a trend follower. You've got to learn to take a few risks."