Thursday, January 5, 2012

Last Call: Daphne Guinness

Daphne Guinness in a vintage Armani Privé gown. Photo by David Bailey.

This Saturday, January 7, 2012, is the last day to see Daphne Guinness, at The Museum at FIT.

I finally received the book to accompany the exhibit over Christmas, after ordering it on November 1! Apparently the first printing sold out and it had to go back to press. Looking through it is a visual delight and Daphne has inspired me even more to stick with wearing black and white and painting my nails red. That is a combination you often see her wear and I tell you, it never gets old. It’s also interesting to read the vignettes on what Daphne thinks of various things, such as this, called “On Her Years in a Wifely Chrysalis”:

“When I was in school, when out of uniform, I wore pretty much anything I wanted. Then I got married—and it was fifteen years of having children and being quite conservative, which was interesting in itself. My husband was quite conservative, which I respected. He didn’t like me to dress up. I’d buy Manolos and hide them. I’d take off my stilettos and put on flats. He didn’t like me to wear hats—an English peculiarity which is almost inexplicable.

“When I was married, I’d try to tone it down and dress in a way that my husband was comfortable with. Of course, having children played its part, and living in Switzerland was not conducive to dressing up.”

On the left is a jacket of Daphne’s own design paired with a dress by her and Alexander McQueen.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to give these crazy blue shoes by Massaro a try.

Before I saw the exhibit and Daphne herself at the remarks to the press given by her and Dr. Valerie Steele, chief curator of the museum (I even got to ask Daphne a question!), I had it in my head that of course she could dress any crazy way she wanted, she has a lot of money—she is one of the heirs to the Guinness brewing fortune—so who’s to tell her she can’t. But seeing how shy and reticent she is in person, and really, how charming, and thinking about the above quote, I’ve changed my mind about her. Now I get a sense that she started knowing herself better and better as she got older and wanted to use clothes to outwardly reflect what she was holding inside—someone who wanted to dress in the most unusual and dramatic way possible. I think that takes guts, actually, and I don’t think you need money to do it, you just have to have the courage to be yourself.

So despite what I first thought, I now find Daphne an inspiration.

The Museum at FIT

Seventh Avenue and 27th Street
New York NY 10001-5992
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: Noon-8PM
Saturday: 10AM-5PM
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and legal holidays
Admission is free


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

The design of that blue jacket is so incredible! Thanks for sharing all of this,Jill!!

Serene said...

Susan, what a great post! I know what you first glance; she appears to be possibly an eccentric millionairess. But upon reading your quotes by her, she seems to be quite transparent. I guess, as women, we are all more alike than we are different!

And I completely agree, "I think that takes guts, actually, and I don’t think you need money to do it, you just have to have the courage to be yourself." Why is it that being true to ourselves can be one of the most courageous acts of our lives...just BEING ourselves actually. I've often thought that I could wear black and white for the rest of my life and be totally fine with it. I still believe that, but it WOULD be difficult not to be tempted by color. It IS a thought though, how much easier it would be to manage a wardrobe with such color focus. Black, white and maybe infusions of a particular possibly? Now you've got me thinking! Hugs to you! ~Serene

Anonymous said...

She is such a striking woman...I took time out while reading to check her age on wikipedia, thinking that if she could do these wild designs and dress, I could too. That jacket is quite remarkable--the collar.

Veshoevius said...

Jill this is fascinating! Like you I'd assumed her wealth would have meant she'd dressed like that all her life and I'm sure many a mother could relate to her comments and how she felt she had to dress through motherhood. You're right - her journey in finding her personal style at that age is truly inspirational!

fashionoverfifty said...

I'm really bummed that I wont get a chance to got to the exhibit..but thanks to you I can at least walk away with some interesting tidbits!

I am also shocked that she was quiet and reserved at one time! Hard to believe with what comes to mind usually with her clothing!

I love the lbd with the flower-like graphic on the front....

sacramento said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh I love, love this crazy blue shoes so much.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, my dearest Jill.