British heiress Daphne Guinness is one of couture’s more flamboyant dressers, and comes from a long line established couture customers. Her grandmother was Diana Mitford, one of the famous three Mitford sisters, who were society beauties in their youth as well as regular clients at the house of Givenchy amongst many others.
A mother of three, Daphne Guinness is the daughter of the brewery heir Jonathan Guinness, aka Lord Moyne, and the youngest of five children. She spent part of her childhood in an artists’ colony in Spain; part of it in Paris, where with her mother, the French beauty Suzanne Lisney, she’d sit in the front row of all the couture shows; and part of it in London, where she’d spend Saturdays in the art-deco room in Biba, drinking strawberry milkshakes and developing her trademark passion for all things feathered.
Over the years Guinness has gained a reputation as a renowned collector of haute couture. "The thing about haute couture, unlike prêt-à-porter clothing, is that you actually have to engage with the process and repeatedly go for fittings," she explained. In an age when consumers seem increasingly obsessed with acquiring the latest “it” bag or shoes, couture’s attraction to Guinness lies in its exclusivity, and the fact that she’s guaranteed a unique product no matter how many times she wears it. She also doesn’t tend to be too reverential with her couture purchases, often combining garments from different designers and seasons, or mixing them with ready to wear pieces to create a distinct look.
When asked how she developed such a strong sense of personal style, her response was, "I grew up in an artists' colony near Barcelona with Salvador Dali and the Surrealists, so my dress sense is very colored by my youth," she explained. "Everybody knew that Dali 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 colored hippy kaftans and a lot of French, tailored outfits."
Clockwise bottom left: In Chanel Haute Couture, Fall 2006; In Christian Lacroix, Spring 2006; In Givenchy Haute Couture by Alexander McQueen, Spring 2000; In Chanel couture, Spring 2004; In Chanel couture, Fall 2007; Wearing Gaultier’s stuffed Birds of Paradise hairpieces from his Spring 2004 couture collection.
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