It’s a classic New York story: a wealthy socialite meets and marries an even wealthier man and lives happily ever after in a penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side. C.Z. Guest was just that, a rich New York woman who dabbled in everything stylish and fabulous. What set Ms. Guest apart from characters in similar fairy tales, though, was her irreverence and her tendency to speak her mind.
Born Lucy Douglas Cochrane in Massachusetts in 1920, Ms. Guest moved to New York as a young actress, appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1944. She later married Winston F.C. Guest, a national polo champion with English society blood. During her long life, Ms. Guest became known as an independent, insouciant woman who rubbed elbows with Truman Capote, Cecil Beaton, Ernest Hemingway, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and the Maharaja of Jaipur. She loved simple, elegant designer clothing, a passion that earned her a spot on the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1959. Though she passed away a decade ago, Ms. Guest remains the original fashionista and the eternal New York socialite.