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Lucire 2011 A grand entrance Given their friendship, it was fitting that Alexander McQueen would lead visitors in to the Museum at FIT for the Daphne Guinness exhibition.

Daphne Guinness: chic, not shy

The Daphne Guinness exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology shows the brewery heiress isn’t afraid of pushing the envelope when it comes to her extravagant collection of fashion from the top names in the business, writes Lola Saab


VALENTINO, THE FAMOUS Italian couturier, once said, ‘Life is a stage for Daphne [Guinness]. Funeral or balls, she always makes a performance …’

The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York was certainly transformed into ‘a stage’, with a number of spectacular pieces from Guinness’s large wardrobe on display.

After two years in the making, the Daphne Guinness exhibition was ready to open its doors to visitors on September 16, 2011. It took Guinness years to collect wonderfully remarkable and outstanding pieces from high-end designers and the eccentric fashion icon is ready to share some of them with the public. Today, Guinness owns around 2,500 dresses and 500 pairs of shoes.

The exhibition runs through January 7, 2012. The ‘icon of style’ herself, Daphne Guinness, was co-curator working alongside the director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT, Valerie Steele.

Daphne Diana Joan Suzannah Guinness was born on November 9, 1967 in Hampstead, London. Other than being recognized as an artist, a brewery heiress, and a socialite, Guinness also has an amazing eye for fashion.

In 1994 she was named to the International Best Dressed List. Guinness had once said, ‘I don’t do event dressing, because every day is an event.’

With a wide range of different materials, colours and designs, many pieces from her wardrobe are a splendid mix of classiness with an almost funky, yet stylish twist.

Walking around the museum was like taking a tour right into her private walk-in closet: a complete mind-blowing experience. With more than one hundred classy pieces as well as a few videos and pictures in and around the showroom, it was a spectacular treat of extravagance.

Each piece was a stunning work of art to be closely admired. More than just garments, they seemed like murals or even paintings on display. Such vivid and lavish pieces could express more than a million words put together. They conveyed a considerably open and unafraid character that Guinness is known for. Her towering 10-inch platform shoes are magnificent creations that prove Guinness’s daring nature.

The exhibition is divided into six sections: ‘Dandyism’, ‘Armour’, ‘Chic’, ‘Evening Chic’, ‘Sparkle’, and ‘Exotic’, featuring pieces from the likes of Valentino, Chanel, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Rick Owen, Azzedine Alaïa and John Galliano. Styles differ from slightly masculine and fierce to overly feminine and flamboyant.

There were more than two dozen chic, never-before-seen pieces from the late McQueen. The world-renowned designer was also Guinness’s close friend.

It might have been the end of the exhibition as we walked through the doors and out into the open air; however it was not the end of Guinness’s fashion endeavour. Her adventure into the fashion world is one that people closely follow, watching the courageous woman unafraid to express her artistic self. In many ways, Guinness has the tendency to highlight the importance of self-expression and individualism. •



Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.



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photographs courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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As seen by Christian Lacroix
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photographed by Cyril Zannettacci and Gautier Deblonde, courtesy la Musée du Quai Branly


Dress by Alexander McQueen.

Dress by Christian Lacroix, jacket by Alexander McQueen.

Dress and coat by Gareth Pugh.


Above View from inside the Museum at FIT.



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