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Iris Apfel’s bold new H&M fashion launch is perfect for Passover

Iris Apfel is living proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Today, at age 100, she’s launching a fashion collection with retail giant H&M. Yet until she was 84, she’d never worked professionally in fashion as a designer or model; her career was in interior decorating. Her brightly patterned, brazenly clashing outfits were so iconic, however, that in 2005, she was asked to put together a one-woman show, displaying her collection of clothing and costume jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — and was instantly launched into fame.

Apfel is a true eccentric, unapologetic about loud outfits or being “too much.” Her Instagram page proclaims, “More is more, and less is a bore,” and her new collection is delightfully chaotic, bordering on the surreal. Blocky silhouettes and thick textures meet bold colors and zany patterns.

The collection was released Thursday and most pieces have sold out during the hour I was writing this. This is a real shame, since bugs, frogs and vegetables all feature prominently — perfectly on-theme for the Seder. Still, you can certainly plan next year’s outfit and hope between now and then you can track some of it down.

In all honesty, I’m not sure I have the self-possession to wear clothing that’s this much of a statement; I’m more of an earth tones gal. But I aspire to more — so come with me on a tour of some of the most delightfully garish and quintessentially Iris Apfel pieces from her new collection as I daydream about how to win best-dressed at next year’s Passover table.

Frog earrings, bracelet, necklace and ring**

Froggie earrings, so cute so sparkly

Froggie earrings, so cute so sparkly Image by H&M

I know many houses have a tradition of making plague-themed table centerpieces, often with cheap plastic toys or drawings. Step it up with this glitzy frog jewelry set — you don’t even need pierced ears for the earrings, they’re clip-ons. The necklace and bracelet are chunky plastic instead of rhinestones, if that’s more your style. Plastic or sparkly, the frogs are adorable.

Glittery bug detachable brooch statement necklace, belt and MATCHING BROCADE SHOES?!

The beetle shoes??? Come on!

The beetle shoes??? Come on! Image by H&M

OK, I think this is a beetle, not a locust. Definitely close enough, though. You can wear the necklace as a brooch instead, if you want, plus there’s an incredible belt that connects with two enormous beetles going head to head over a glittering orb. And the matching shoes, loafer style, bright yellow brocade with rhinestone beetles on top? Truly a work of art.

Commit to one plague for your outfit, mix and match — either way, you’re covered.

Flounced Jacket

The frothiest of Red (or purple) Seas in jacket form.

The frothiest of Red (or purple) Seas in jacket form. Image by H&M

I mean, look at this frothy masterpiece — it’s basically the Red Sea in jacket form. Picture it with me: At the opportune moment in the Seder, you strike a pose, pulling the jacket open and parting the Red Sea to reveal whatever fantastic thing you’ve got on underneath. I dream of being able to pull this off.

This colorful, oversized patterned shirt and pants set

As much pattern as possible please.

As much pattern as possible please. Image by H&M

Maybe this is the fantastic outfit you have on under the Red Sea jacket? Apfel is all about power clashing, after all. Think of the vibrant florals as a sign of the Promised Land the Jews were escaping to, and the yellow splash across the outfit as a symbol of the desert they had to cross.

The iconic peapod outfit

The 3D pearl peas? I mean. And peep the shoe -- there are the pea-frog loafers! *chefs kiss*

The 3D pearl peas? I mean. And peep the shoe — there are the pea-frog loafers! chefs kiss

Can sweet peas count as karpas on the Seder plate? Let’s just say yes for the sake of being able to wear this absolutely insane pea-themed suit with pearlescent beads sewn on for each individual pea in its pods growing across the blazer and matching pants. Maybe pair it with some of the beetle and frog jewelry (or this caterpillar-y bangle) to evoke a rich garden and the promise of warmth and growth inherent in this springtime holiday. There are even frog-pea brocade loafers.

Chunky cute frog version, complete with a lil daisy.

Chunky cute frog version, complete with a lil daisy. Image by H&M

Alternatively, go all-in on the pea theme with the pea earrings and statement necklace.

Or, honestly, in the spirit of Iris Apfel, pair it with matzo pajamas — power clashing and bold patterns are, after all, her signature.

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