McQueen, Bernard-Henri and the Nazis: Life of Daphne Guinness Gets New Yorker Treatment

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Ms. Guinness.

Did you wake up today with Fashion Week withdrawal? Craving a runway in New York, and unable to hop a flight to London? Remnick & Co. have you covered: The New Yorker‘s style issue hits stands today, and there’s plenty of hemming to fill the pages. Susan Orlean has a nice snapshot of happy-go-lucky French couturier Jean-Paul Gautier, but more arresting is Rebecca Mead’s take on the enigma of Daphne Guinness.

There is no shortage of reasons to look into the life of Ms. Guinness — described in the profile as “an heiress, a muse, a socialite, a designer, and an artist” — but it helps that The Observer is coming off a week where she seemed to be everywhere. We caught up with her at Steven Klein’s harrowing video installation, downed shots of tequila with her at the AnOther magazine dinner, and then hung out with her and Mick Jagger at Electric Room late into Thursday night (for more on that, look for a certain nightlife column in Wednesday’s Observer).

The article is behind the paywall, so we’ll give the subscription-less a look at the more intriguing reveals imbedded in the piece.

On what clothes by her late friend Alexander McQueen hang in her closets:

She had at least six McQueen bodysuits, made from skin-tight beige silk net embroidered with glass beads in patterns that evoked both corsetry and herpetology.

On a bad fall that resulted from her wobbly, sky-high heel-less Noritaka Tatehanas:

She was delighted to see that her blood matched her shoes.

On her role as mistress to married philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy:

Guinness has often alluded on her Twitter account to the heartbreak of the situation. (“I am a hopeless romantic. I would not think twice to die for love.”)

On her relationship with Harold Bloom, the Western Canon’s biggest fanboy:

“She has got a kind of precarious beauty,” Bloom to me, fondly. “One wonderful day, there she was, looking very young and boyish in a black costume with a white ruff, and I said, ‘Daphne, dear, who are you?’ And she said, ‘Harold, I’m Hamlet.’”

And on the Nazism that once ran through the older generations of her family:

School became even harder to tolerate after the death, in 1980, of her grandmother Diana’s second husband, Sir Oswald Mosley. Mosley was the founder of the British Union of Fascists, and Diana and Mosley were married, in 1936, at the house of Joseph Goebbels, with Adolph Hitler as a guest.

Perhaps the most striking quote from Ms. Guinness relates to this arm of her family, and its politics. The icon and writer are discussing Diana and her sister, Unity, who committed suicide after years dwelling in Hilter’s inner circle.

“Why didn’t Unity shoot Hitler instead of herself?” Guinness said. “Then we’d be descended from heroes instead of villains.”

Comments

  1. Daphneguinness says:

    I would like to elucidate that it is the 2nd WW and millions of lives that were lost in it that has been my underlying horror. This is too serious a subject to be summed up by a quote. Context is everything, it is a huge  topic.