Friday 23 February 2018

Flamboyant socialite Daphne Guinness auctions 100 items from her wardrobe

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Daphne Guinness attends the Graduate Fashion Week 2012 Gala Show at Earls Court 2 on June 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Daphne Guinness attends the Graduate Fashion Week 2012 Gala Show at Earls Court 2 on June 13, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Laura Donnelly

Heiress known for her flamboyant style held the auction

Many are rare examples of couture by the world's best known designers, part of a collection built up during a lifetime devoted to fashion.

The auction by Christie's is being held in aid of the Isabella Blow Foundation, which Daphne, 46, set up in memory of her close friend, also known for her exuberant style, who committed suicide five years ago

The heiress of the brewing family and former wife of a billionaire shipping magnate is famed for her eccentric style and love of the avant garde, with the designers Chanel, Lacroix and Balenciaga among her favourites

One of the most valuable items to be auctioned is a unique metallic silver dress with a sculptural, tulip-shaped skirt, which was made for Ms Guinness by the late Alexander McQueen.

It is expected to go for between €15,000 and €24,000 at the auction on 27 June, with a portrait of Guinness wearing the dress by photographer Mat Collishaw included.

A portrait of Ms Guinness by Mario Testino, shot for British Vogue in 2008, carries one of the highest estimates of up to €35,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, a short silver lame evening coat by Dosa, listed at £250 (€280), is one of the least expensive items listed for auction in aid of the foundation, which supports new and emerging talent in art and fashion.

Her flamboyant style puts image far ahead of comfort. One of her most photographed outfits included "lobster" boots designed by McQueen with 12 inch heels.

Art lovers, fashionistas and aristocrats are expected to queue to place bids later this month.

One of her best known devotees is the pop star Lady Gaga, who also admired Daphne Blow.

"Isabella and Daphne are two exceptional human beings, women, icons," the singer once said in an interview.

"I've examined their lives and their personalities in order to understand myself better. Daphne, like Isabella, is a huge source of inspiration for me. I cherish them both. It is as if we are all cut from the same cloth."

Ms Blow was a great supporter of British designers, mentoring McQueen at the start of his career, and buying his entire graduate collection for £5,000.

After her death, plans were made to auction her wardrobe at Christie's, but Ms Guinness stepped in and bought the collection, insisting it must be preserved in its entirety and archived for the benefit of students.

Pat Frost, Director of Christie's Fashion Department said: "We are delighted to be offering the fashion world this incredible one-off opportunity to buy some of the most iconic and cutting-edge haute couture of the early 21st century, owned and worn by Daphne Guinness."

She said the auction would not only provide the chance to secure exceptional fashion pieces, but to benefit and shape designers of the future. A portion of funds generated by the foundation will be donated to selected charities.

The range will be on show at Christie's in London between 23 and 27 June ahead of the auction.

Despite being seen as one of fashion's great eccentrics, Ms Guinness dismisses the label.

"I loathe the word," she once said. "It has become devoid of meaning: it is a blanket statement hinting at lunacy. Perhaps 'bohemian' might be considered as an alternative word, if one needs to be labelled."

Promoted Links

Style Newsletter

Stay on top of the latest fashion, beauty and celeb gossip in our Style newsletter.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in this section