Daphne Guinness: The Fashion Renegade

“Life is a stage for Daphne, funerals or balls, she always makes a performance”


“She is not a person but a concept”

Bernard-Henri Levy

Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti Celebrate the launch of Valentino Virtual Museum.

The Honourable Daphne Diana Joan Suzannah Guinness is one of our favorites, most avant garde and eccentric style icons. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1994. Guinness is prominent in the fashion world as a journalist and collector of haute couture. Being multi-tasking and interested in all areas around art and fashion, she was a model in Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief runway show for the White Ribbon Alliance to raise funds for mothers inHaiti in 2010. In September 2010, NARS Cosmetics launched a collection dedicated to her. In December 2011, MAC cosmetics launched a new collection dedicated to her and other fashion icons. Guinness has designed a range of clothing with Dover Street Market, the Rei Kawakubo’s retail temple, and released an eponymous fragrance in 2009 with Comme des Garçons.

She is collecting fashion, specifically haute couture, for a number of years, and in 2010 bought the entire wardrobe of the late Isabella Blow, in her owns words, to “prevent Issie’s possessions becoming mere morbid memorabilia. . . to preserve it”. She has a fascination with armour, and in 2006 approached her great friend Shaun Leane to create a gold and diamond arm glove. Titled ‘Contra Mundum‘ or ‘Against The World’, this handcrafted, intricately made objet d’art took five years to create and develop and is perhaps one of the most technically advanced pieces in the world of artisan jewels.

Fashion is a topic she loves, but she loathes discussing it at length. In the same approach, she will discount her completely original and magnificently complex outfits as “merely something I do to put a smile on people’s faces” and then provide a laundry list of visual references she incorporates into her looks, from Miuccia Prada to Marcel Proust. “Daphne is not just a great and stylish beauty, she’s also an honest and true person inside. She is so completely real and simple and straightforward in the best way.” The love of her life, French philosopher and intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy, once said that she was not a person but a concept.

She has also made her own short films, and she produced Sean Ellis’s Oscar-nominated 2004 short, Cashback. But not all of her artistic efforts have been publicized. She is also a poetry devotee, she has studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Guinness’s artistic drive is a potent and unstoppable thing. The much-anticipated exhibition of her personal wardrobe at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, opened last September and featured customized pieces from Azzedine Alaïa, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, and her good friend Alexander McQueen. Recently, she also produced and started in an art film about the mysterious death of American actress Jean Seberg.

Daphne Guinness has long been recognized as one of this generation’s creative forces for her contribution to the worlds of fashion, art and style. A sartorial leader who’s been cited as an inspiration to everyone from Lady Gaga to Tom Ford, from the retired Valentino to virtually the entire blogosphere. “Life is a stage for Daphne, funerals or balls, she always makes a performance”, said Valentino. “But behind the extraordinary looks is the sweetest and most tender human being” claims Tom Ford.




And if you’re curious about her signature heelless shoes. . . they are Nina Ricci, Alexander McQueen, Jeffrey Campbell and Antonio Berardi among her custom-made ones. Daphne is the proud owner of 500 shoes and 2,500 dresses. . . Do you get it now?


Photo Credits: Daphne Guinness

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