The Honorable Daphne Suzanne Diana Joan Guinness was born in 1967, the daughter of brewery heir, Jonathan Guinness, Lord Moyne, and French beauty, Suzanne Lisney. Her paternal grandmother was Diana Mitford, one of the legendary Mitford sisters. In 1987, at the age of nineteen, Daphne married Spyros Niarchos. After her divorce in 1999, Daphne resumed her maiden name, and over the past decade has emerged on the world’s stage an extraordinary fashion creature.
We stopped by the Daphne Guinness Exhibition at The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), which ran September 16 through January 7, 2010.
The exhibition features the work of Aero director Indrani including previews of her new film starring Daphne, titled, The Legend of Lady White Snake: A Tribute to the Spirit of Alexander McQueen, written and directed by Indrani.
Based on China’s most beloved ancient legend, the film is a meditation on obsessive love and metamorphosis. Shooting the film for 7 days in New York, they stopped traffic in Central Park as Daphne glided across a lake in a costume designed by GK Reid, stylist and production designer extraordinaire. GK also styled her in Gareth Pugh, Philip Tracy, and pieces designed by the Late Alexander McQueen just for Daphne, that have never before been seen. The film and images also feature a 20ft long python, and an owl.
The Exhibit also featured photographs by Markus Klinko and Indrani on the set of the film. One of these became the Barney’s ad for Daphne’s extraordinary performance art show in the windows of Barney’s New York as she prepared for the Met Ball.
I had a chance to speak with Daphne at a recent fashion event that I attended. We spoke about Asian influences and her recent film with South Asian photographer, Indrani!
ASIANCE: Tell us about your new film with Indrani!
Guiness: It’s always a work in progress. I always do unscripted work. We all trust each other. I’ve known her for a year. I really loved working with her. My problem has been with schedules.
Daphne Guiness by Indrani – Tribute to the Spirit of Alexander McQueen
ASIANCE: Are there any Asian designers on your radar?
Guiness: I love Japanese designers. They’re so creative. My mentality is there. I’ve never been to China but I collect antique Chinese robes, though I’ve been to Hong Kong.
ASIANCE: What are you wearing tonight?
Guiness: Vintage Alexander McQueen. I never know what I put on.
ASIANCE: What projects are you working on now?
Guiness: I’m in the middle of 5 different films now. I want to be able to show people that you can do this without a multimillion dollar budget and you just need an imagination and everyone working together who has the same spirit. You don’t need to have tons of assistants. Just get it done and have fun and hopefully it turns out great. I always walk into these things in the dark. That’s the way I like to work. You just have to trust the process and let the process take care of itself. I’m a process person.