Friday, October 28, 2011

GUINNESS, DAPHNE The Ultimate Fashion Fantasy ©

By Polly Guerin
RWANYC Fashion Historian

Throughout history there have been celebrated women of style, but Daphne Guinness, a brewing company heiress, couture collector, and style icon is a special type of fashion insider. She not only inspires designers and brings their clothes to life, but Daphne actually re-invents looks that affect the way the fashion cognoscenti dress and/or think about dressing. She has re-invented herself using fashion to transform herself to become a creative force in her own right.

Art historian, John Richardson puts it: “She’s the object of her own creativity. Her persona is her own masterpiece.” If you’re like me hovering in the classic rung of the fashion ladder you may ask, “Why should any of us care about what DG does? It becomes clear at the exhibit at The Museum at FIT in New York City that Daphne Guinness, the most stylish woman living today, can turn even a basic into a head-turner. The exhibit on view through January 7, 2012 features approximately 100 garments and accessories from Guinness's personal collection, plus films, videos and image of and by her.


A close friend of the late designer Alexander McQueen, the exhibition includes more than a dozen McQueen garments that have never been displayed. “I wish he was still here, he was part of my real friends. It wasn’t just about making clothes; you’re feeding off each other.” Daphne Guinness is also credited with inspiring some of the world’s greatest couturiers from Karl Lagerfeld to Valentino. Also featured is an extraordinary haute couture from Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lacroix, and Valentino, as well as demi-couture from Azzedine Alaia, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, and Rick Owens, and futuristic styles by young designers and clothes that Guinness has designed herself that show her love of uniforms. The breathtaking wide range of exceptional accessories, many which were created in collaboration with Guinness include Philip Treacy’s hats and Shaun Leane’s “armor” jewelry, not to mention towering platform shoes made especially for her by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehana.


When questioned: “Who did you most admire?” Daphne replied, “Diana Vreeland, she lived her clothes. In contrast to Vreeland who lived her clothes, Daphne added, “Some people put things on, but they don’t feel that they are part of them. With style you learn and adjust.” The Duchess of Windsor, Nancy Cunard, and Josephine Baker were other style icons Daphne mentioned. She added, “I am also inspired by books. I will envision what the heroine is wearing. I’m always going back to the basics in literature and art and I am an Old Master fan.”


When asked “How to you approach collecting?” Daphne replied: “It has to be something so original it sparks something in you, reacting ‘Wow that’s something new and exciting,’ I was the first with skulls, but when skulls became mainstream I gave them up. I’m connected to music; rock and roll and fashion are very related. Music in the 60’s influenced a whole generation way of dressing. However, I feel that there’s a new movement seems to be happening in fashion now.”


“I would not say one style is better than another,” Daphne said in reply is the question, “Is there more of an opportunity today for individual style. Daphne: “Sometimes I feel that there is enormous pressure that some people feel that they must dress a certain way to be validated. Fashion hats and gloves may not be necessary but they are now fascinating. I always wanted to wear men’s suits. When cut right you can put it on again, again and again because the structure is good.” From her platinum-and-black striped hair to her towering ten-inch heels, from her to die-for couture collection to her amazing jewelry, Daphne Guinness completely embodies the rarified personal style of a fashion icon.

Several of Guinness’s films are shown, including The Phenomenology of the Body (which explores the politics of clothing), Mnemosyne (which was inspired by her perfume, and Tribute to Alexander McQueen, as well as numerous images and videos.

The museum’s annual fashion symposium, Fashion Icons and Insiders, November 3-4, 2011 will take place in conjunction with the Daphne Guinness exhibit.♥

Polly Guerin honed her skills as a fashion historian when Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she taught Creative Fashion Presentations, Styling and Merchandising whilst also writing 4 textbooks on fashion as well as the scripts for 2 video productions. The Story of Color is the definitive visual on the impact of color on mood, mind and spirit.

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