Daphne Guinness on Style


There are very few people, just a handful, who have a relationship with their clothes like Daphne Guinness. The Guinness heir (yes, the one of ‘stout’ fame), film producer and fashion muse doesn’t dress up or down according to those who follow such things. No, this icon of originality dresses out. Her clothes don’t define her. Not for a moment. They’re too entranced to worship at the altar of Guinness, happy enough to have found a palate of sartorial perfection. She has never had a look, never once, never remotely, that was anyone’s but her very own.

Not surprisingly, she’s formed a philosophy, not unlike those denizens of flawless impeccability who knew the value of lasting good taste and style.

D.G.: “One of the problems with modern fashion is that people change all the time. There are very few people who keep their look through thick and thin – the Duchess of Windsor did. Years ago women had to make things last and clothes weren’t disposable – they couldn’t just go out and buy another thing.”

Moral: Restrain yourself from multiple purchases. It’s timely, expensive, unfocused and these days, obscene. Never reduce yourself to following trends. It will only serve to have you look like the turned-out replica that you, obviously, are. Think long term: spend money on classic cuts and meticulous lines. One beautifully tailored pair of trousers trumps a dozen mediocre selection of slacks. And if ever you should reach the upper echelon, go for couture every time.

D.G.: “I grew up in an artists’ colony near Barcelona with Salvador DalÍ and the Surrealists, so my dress sense is very coloured by my youth. Everybody knew that DalÍ was the most crazy; you’d go to his house and he would have lobsters in his pool. Anything went, clothes-wise. You could wear whatever you wanted any time of day, so people would wear evening clothes at breakfast time, simple Catalan shoes and hats, lots of brightly coloured hippy kaftans, and a lot of French, tailored outfits.”

Moral: Cultivate a sense of adventure and surprise but temper it with steely-eyed “appropriateness.” Understand, for example, why you wouldn’t want to make an appearance at the Golden Globes or anywhere else, short of a bordello, in a pink tutu with knee-high-satin-bowed shoes.

D.G.: “When you walk about in Paris, you just see a lot of people who are incredibly well-dressed – for example, Loulou de la Falaise dresses beautifully. I think you do have a more fun life if you wear beautiful clothes. There is a certain joy in it; dressing well is an art and it shows respect to be neatly turned out.

Moral: Expand beyond what you already do well. Jewelry for instance. Daphne’s already on it. As well as working up a shirt collection and a fragrance for Comme des Garçons. And as all good icons know, giving back is the new creed of the time. A recent auction of her couture pieces raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for a women’s charity. Well done!

A cautionary note to the enamored: if you ever find yourself sitting next to Daphne on a late-night bus, in a soup kitchen, or in the waiting room at a tattoo parlor, for God’s sake, don’t talk about fashion. She can’t bear it. She doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Above: Daphne Guinness modeling Alexander McQueen in London for Vanity Fair. Photograph by Michael Roberts. Articles: My Life in Fashion


~ by eaesthete on 12/22/08.

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