I have long been obsessed with the eccentric blue-blooded English family, the Mitfords. Nancy Mitford is definitely my favourite author, and The Pursuit of Love is the book I always turn to when feeling blue. But so crazed was I about a family that included fearless communist journalist Decca, duchess Debo, Unity the Nazi and the beautiful Diana, second wife to British National Party leader Oswald Mosley, that I once drove all around the English countryside to look at the houses that they grew up in. Daphne Guinness, artist, style icon and wearer of heel-less heels - is the grandaughter of Diana, from Diana's first marriage to Guinness heir Jonathan. So that alone is enough to feed my fascination of her. But there's more to it.
The best and most curious thing about Daphne's style, of which platform heels, leather leggings, armour style clothes and haute couture (always) feature -apart from the fact that it's awfully difficult to imagine her popping down to the shops for some milk- is that she doesn't really dress for others. Her darkly glamorous style is not easily recreated, it is harsh, severe, it looks deeply uncomfortable. It's not really even enviable. But it's wearable art and it's endlessly fascinating. In an analysis of the recent exhibition of Guinness' clothes at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Forbes Magazine wrote of how difficult it was to gain a sense of Guinness' true self through looking at her clothes. Her clothes don't express, they detract and deflect and astonish. The writer observed a quote by Guinness, speaking of her fondness for warrior type pieces, in the exhibition that said,
“I think it’s beautiful to be able to cover yourself in metal. I love the color and the way it reflects. But it is also a protection.”
As the writer noted, it is interesting that Guinness' style is much more about self-protection, even self-negation, than saying something about who she is.
Click through the gallery above for some of Daphne Guinness' best fashion moments.