Take my advice: run to see the Daphne Guiness exhibit at FIT! If you are at all inspired by fashion icons, this exhibit, which runs through January 7, 2012, is a MUST.
I visited with my mother, which was fun because she finds all the fancy shoes and couture dresses just so laughable, unapproachable, and unwearable. Previously, we had visited the Alexander McQueen exhibit together at the Met and she had a similar reaction. We had a good giggle!
But seriously, shoe fetishists will be amazed by Guinness’s collection. She owns custom-made shoes by Christian Louboutin and Noritaka Tatehan, as well as footwear styles from Nina Ricci and Alexander McQueen.
The exhibit also features two dozen McQueen garments which have never been displayed before. There are haute couture pieces from Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lacroix, and Valentino, as well as demi-couture by Azzedine Alaia, Dolce & Gabbana, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, and hats by Philip Treacy.
I loved the artistic videos that Guiness had collaborated on, working with greats such as Karl Lagerfeld, David LaChapelle, Steven Klein, and Nick Knight. I respect her because she has a very firm grasp of public persona and how to become an icon.
I also admire her because she is a true clothes horse and serious couture collector. She had actually purchased everything, which is so different from today’s Hollywood stars who borrow so many of their red carpet looks. She uses clothing, accessories, black and white hair, and makeup to transform herself. Or, as John Richardson said, “She’s the object of her own creativity. Her persona is her own masterpiece.”
I was chatting with my friend Harold Koda after seeing the exhibit, and he shared with me that her true personality is so different from the image she projects to the world. I’ve also noticed that in very few photos does she smile. But she sure knows how to mold her image as an art form.