Iris Apfel, the 101-year-old businesswoman, interior designer and fashion icon, will design The Royal Poinciana Plaza’s surfboard Christmas tree, which will be inspired by her own personal style over the years, featuring bright colors and over-the-top embellishments.
“When I grow up, I want to be Iris Apfel. She is a creative genius who embodies the best of fashion — always fun and fabulous and never taking herself too seriously, exactly the characteristics we hope to embody at The Royal. So who better to design a holiday tree made entirely of surfboards? No one. It is an honor to partner with her and a joy to watch her spectacular vision come to life,” said Samantha David, president of WS Development, owner of The Royal Poinciana.
Past designers of the holiday tree have included Libertine’s Johnson Hartig, Ashley Longshore, Donald Robertson and Gray Malin.
Apfel’s obsession with texture, color and patterns, combined with her more-is-more approach to accessorizing has made her a viral sensation over the past few years. She is known for her quirky style and vibrant personality, and her trademark outfit, round oversize glasses with costume jewelry and printed garments.
“Palm Beach is incredibly dear to me,” said Apfel. “It’s where I live seasonally, and when on the island, one of my most frequented destinations is The Royal Poinciana Plaza. It’s charming, spirited and home to the most wonderful restaurants and shops. For the past five years, they have partnered with renowned artists and designers to produce a holiday tree made entirely of surfboards, which is really just magical and unexpected. When approached this year to work with The Royal on the installation, I was flattered. What we’ve pulled together emulates my outlook on life. It’s playful, colorful, optimistic and completely unique. I hope everyone who views it smiles, and is inspired to walk to the beat of their own drum.”
The reveal and lighting of the surfboard holiday tree takes place Dec. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Participating retailers Alice + Olivia, Kirna Zabête, Marissa Collections and Frame, will have clothing and accessories that feel unmistakably Iris, merchandised specifically for this collaboration, available to shop before the reveal.
“We encourage the community to celebrate the icon who calls our island home by taking a page out of her book and attending our reveal event dressed like maximalists,” said Dana Filetti, marketing director of The Royal Poinciana Plaza. “Select retailers have pulled together assortments of bold colors, trending denim, feathers and playful accessories in preparation for shoppers. How marvelous it will be to see our courtyards filled with guests donning oversize glasses, layered necklaces and sequins…all in the spirit of Iris Apfel and our magical holiday season.”
Apfel and her style have been the focal point for multiple museum exhibitions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Peabody Essex Museum. In business with her husband, Carl, from 1950 to 1992, she had a career in textiles, including a contract with the White House that spanned nine presidents.
The tree and decor will be up throughout the holiday season.