By Lisa Petrillo

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HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Packed with fans, it looked like an in-store appearance from the likes of Kim Kardashian.

But if you look closer, the fans at J Nelson in Hollywood lined up for a book signing with the iconic and stylish 96-year-old Iris Apfel.

Her book is titled “Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon Musings Of A Geriatric Stylist.”

“It was quite accidental. I never thought I’d be an icon. I never meant to be an icon, and they made me one so it was really a major accident,” said Iris.

It’s no accident. Iris has fans of all ages all over the world. Her exciting career began when she was interior decorator designing the homes of the rich and famous.

“We did all the fabrics for Marjorie Merriweather Post, Greta Garbo, you name it,” Iris said.

WATCH WEB EXTRA EXCLUSIVE WITH IRIS APFEL

 

She and her late husband Carl launched the textile firm Old World Weavers and did design restoration projects at The White House for nine presidents, from Truman to Clinton.

“With a historic restoration, everything has to be as close as humanly possible to the way it was originally. Though it was hideous, you mustn’t change a thing,” Iris told CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

Yes, Iris is a true original right down to her signature over-sized round glasses.

Her world travels led her to collect original fashion pieces getting the attention of New York’s Fashion elite.

“I never liked standard equipment and I was always looking for something different that’s what my taste is and traveling gave me a great opportunity to find things. In those days, the flea markets in Europe were busting with things,” she said.

In 2005, The Metropolitan Museum of Art staged an exhibit featuring her incredible collections of clothing and accessories . A documentary about her life followed and Iris even had a one of a kind Barbie Doll made in her image. Yes, Fashion icon she is. Her advice to fans?

“I advise them to get to know themselves so they can make their own decisions and not look like everybody else,” Iris said.

Petrillo asked her about her social media following. She has more than 900,000 followers on Instagram but she’s quick to point out she doesn’t manage it or bother with it.

“It has its good points I’m sure, but it’s a dreadful disease for a lot of people. They live vicariously through social media. They don’t develop any social skills,” she said.

“And your secret to staying young?” asked Petrillo.

“I just do what I want to do and I hope I can keep getting up in the morning and moving around. That’s a piece of good luck right there,” Iris said.

“And you look fabulous doing it. A true inspiration to all women,” said Petrillo.

“Thank you very much,” said Iris.

 

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