Saturday afternoon I dressed for my day at the Daphne Guinness Exhibit choosing an outfit very befitting of Daphne. Cassis (purple) liner topped with Taupe Gris (purplish-greige) eyeshadow by Chanel, bronzing blush and a custom-blend of red-hot-black-cherry lipstick. I exercised the spirit of McQueen in a pair of dangling skull earrings with my “Savage Beauty” tee, a neck-scarf, black metallic jacket, leather skirt, armor accessories with a half-finger lambskin driving glove and a pair of 5 ½ inch Noritaka Tatehana inspired heel-less boots… little did I know these boots would stir a commotion.
On my way to the FIT Museum, I noticed people staring down, following my footsteps. Facial expressions varied from confusion to awe. Groups of people thought out loud, revealing their fascination with these boots. Random strangers approached me with questions and compliments. I paced myself with each step so I wouldn’t hit the pavement.
When I entered Daphne’s presentation, it was mysteriously dark. Alexander McQueen Sculpted Resin & Leather Sandals from Spring 2011 and Armor Studded Boots, Nina Ricci and Noritaka Tatehana colossal heel-less boots lay behind a glass wall, 100 outfits from Daphne’s personal wardrobe were carefully grouped into six sections within the space: Dandyism (menswear inspired), Armor (metallic, spikes and leather), Chic (dresses and suits), Evening Chic (classical looks), Exoticism (more dramatically tailored clothing) and Sparkle (sequins, feathers and beading).
Flatscreen TVs displayed editorial images and commentaries of Daphne, an audio headset provided a behind-the-scenes look at her fragrance commercial. Mannequins bore her signature two-toned up-do hairstyle, while some wore White Royal Imperial wigs. Originals from Alexander McQueen dominated the floor (dating as far back as his work with Givenchy), followed by Chanel and Valentino couture, designs by John Galiano for Christian Dior couture and even custom-creations by Daphne Guinness herself. Other designers included Balmain, Azzedine Alaia, Christian Lacroix and Gareth Pugh. Glorious jackets, capes, leggings, gowns and suit variations adorned the faceless figures. The garment detail was phenomenal, delicately intricate embellishments and lush fabrics. One mannequin stood above the rest in 12 ½ inch boots from Alexander McQueen Fall 2009.
The Daphne Guinness gallery pamphlet exhibited a few descriptions worth noting about this fashion muse:
There have been many exhibitions about individual fashion designers, but surprisingly few on fashion icons. Yet in order for a look to become fashionable, to move off the runway into real life, it has to be worn by individuals of great personal style. Daphne Guinness is the very image of personal style. She is fearless about wearing the most extreme fashion, and has been an inspiration to many designers, but she is no mere clothes horse. A serious collector of couture, she is also a creative force in her own right. The individualism, often described as eccentricity, is at the heart of Daphne’s appeal. Equally important is her respect for the art of fashion. She famously said, “We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can make and support things of rare and precious beauty.”
Daphne’s collection is no mere assemblage of couture clothes, on a par with Imelda Marco’s thousands of shoes or the closets of a Saudi princess. It is not simply that her collection includes important couture looks by the greatest designers of our time, she has also acquired cutting-edge garments from young designers. Everything in her closets reflects her knowledge of and respect for the art of fashion.
“I don’t do event dressing, because every day is an event.”
“Fashion today is becoming more beige… everyone and everything is starting to look the same… We should be flying the flag of individuality.”
Daphne Guinness’ Alexander McQueen Tribute [Official Preview] “Legend of Lady White Snake”
Daphne Guinness exhibit (Cyber Tour)
Fashion Channel: New York Fashion Week: [Author Valerie Steele on Daphne Guinness’ exhibition]
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