Daphne Guinness

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Daphne Guinness
Daphne Guinness at FIT.jpg
Born Daphne Diana Joan Susanna Guinness
(1967-11-09) 9 November 1967 (age 48)
Hampstead, London, England
Modelling information
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Hair colour Brown and platinum blonde
Eye colour Brown

The Honourable Daphne Diana Joan Susanna Guinness (born 9 November 1967) is an artist of both British and Irish nationality. She is an heir by direct descent of Arthur Guinness, the 18th-century inventor of the beer that still bears his name.

Early life[edit]

Her father is Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne, the eldest son of Diana Mitford Mosley and Bryan Guinness. Diana was the daughter of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, the father of the celebrated Mitford sisters. Daphne's mother, Jonathan's second wife, was Suzanne Lisney (died 2005), of Cadaques, Spain, and Paris. Lisney was an artist and muse to Man Ray and Dalí. When Daphne was 13, she became aware that she had a further three half-siblings by Susan "Shoe" Taylor, her father's mistress.[1]

Daphne is the granddaughter of The Hon. Diana Mitford, who first married Bryan Walter Guinness. Mitford divorced Guinness and married the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley. Daphne has said she did not know of Mosley's political affiliations, before she heard, in 1980, on the BBC news that he had died.[1]

As a child, the young Hon. Daphne Guinness grew up in the country houses owned by her family in England and Ireland. She spent her holidays in an 18th-century former monastery in Cadaques, on the Spanish coast near Barcelona, where the neighbors included Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Dieter Roth, and Richard Hamilton.[2]


Daphne Guinness has been referred to as an icon in the world of fashion.[3] At the request of Fashion Institute of Technology director Valerie Steele, she spent two years mounting an exhibition of a hundred displays of her clothing, which was staged within the context of her other projects, film and modelling. She is courted by many of the best-known names in fashion (such as Karl Lagerfeld,[4] NARS, MAC, Akris, Gareth Pugh[5] and Philip Treacy), working with them artistically or as a model or both.

Her best-known friend was the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.[6][7] Scheduled to model for charity on the runway the day his suicide was announced, Guinness veiled herself in mourning.[8]

She creates and invents many objects herself, many inspired by her fascination with armour. She is known for a taste for skinny pants and platform pumps.[9] She designs fashion, jewelry, and perfume for herself when she cannot find exactly what she wants to wear or buy. She has said that she created more than 100 pieces in 2010 alone.

Since 1994, she has been on the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame, which seeks to identify the best-dressed women in the world.[10] In 2010, she was named in Tatler's top 10 best-dressed list.[11] In 2011, she created a make-up line for MAC cosmetics.[12] In January 2011, she was asked by Tom Ford to close his comeback womenswear show.

Inspiration and muse[edit]

Daphne Guinness seeks to inspire young women through her intensely cultivated style and elegance. Lady Gaga is among them, as she discussed on a broadcast featured on SHOWstudio.com. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times asked Gaga about any influence by Isabella Blow and Daphne Guinness. Lady Gaga replied: "Isabella and Daphne are two exceptional human beings, women, icons. And more than that! They have helped me look inside myself. 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 their lives. I cherish them both. It is as if we are all cut from the same cloth".[13]


Guinness has been involved in numerous philanthropic efforts.

She has walked in two of Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief shows with the purpose of raising funds for disaster victims.[14] In the same vein, in April 2008, she auctioned off a part of her wardrobe, with the entire proceeds going to a struggling British charity called Womankind Worldwide, which deals with women's issues at home and abroad, such as domestic violence.[15]

In June 2010, Guinness purchased the entire lot of the wardrobe of Isabella Blow, her friend who committed suicide in 2007. The lot was purchased prior to an auction which was arranged at Christie's.[16] In reference to the purchase, Guinness was quoted as saying "Indeed, in many ways, the auction would not be merely a sale of clothes; it would be a sale of what was left of Issie, and the carrion crows would gather and take away her essence forever."[16] She later announced that she would be displaying the wardrobe at Central Saint Martins and online as well as starting a foundation to help with mental illness.[17] Guinness also held an auction in 2012 where she raised $744,285 for the Isabella Blow Foundation.[18] The official show, entitled "Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore," is set for display in November 2013 at Somerset House in London.[19]


Daphne Guinness has worked in a variety of roles: artist, actress, muse, model, collector and designer.[1] She is the muse of many photographers who are fascinated by her beauty and feel for artistic performance. Steven Klein, the renowned photographer of such celebrities as Madonna and Lady Gaga, chose Guinness for two Vogue Italia covers. In the first, she plays Jean Seberg in Romain Gary's "Les Oiseaux vont mourir au Perou" In the other, she embodies Delphine Seyrig in Alain Resnais' masterpiece, "L'Année dernière à Marienbad".

David LaChapelle is a longtime friend and collaborator, and chose her to appear in his Maybach advertising campaign in two intricate pictures for the car's Zeppelin model. On another occasion, when working for LaChapelle, she spent six hours in a tank of water, immersed for up to two minutes at a time, to produce two underwater images, including the famous "Daphne Guinness in Water".

She is also featured in the series "Return to Eden", which has not yet been released.

In September 2011, more than half a million visitors attended the Alexander McQueen exhibition "Savage Beauty", at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Shortly thereafter, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology devoted one of its galleries to about a hundred of Daphne's most important pieces.[20]

On 31 January 2012, Styleite.com reported that Guinness had put her art-filled Fifth Avenue apartment for sale for $14M USD.[21]

In 2011 Guinness was photographed by photographer Bryan Adams and featured on the cover of Zoo Magazine.[22]



Daphne Guinness has produced and edited three short films :

  • Cashback, short film nominated for an Academy Award in 2004, was later made into a feature-length version. Guinness produced this film for the photographer Sean Ellis.[1]
  • "The Phenomenology of Body" was a hymn to the evolution of the female wardrobe over millennia, and is available on the NY Times website.
  • "Mnemosyne" was an 'anti-commercial' made to comment on the scent, "DAPHNE", that Guinness made at the request of Comme des Garçons. It was distinct enough from the product it supported that that the film was nominated for a Webby award and garnered independent attention.


  • In 2011, Guinness starred in Joe Lally's film, "The Murder of Jean Seberg". Seberg was the tragic American actress who was Jean-Luc Godard's muse, and the former wife of the French writer Romain Gary. Seberg was politically engaged and would fight alongside the Black Panthers.[23]
  • In December 2011, she was photographed, while recorded livestream, by Nick Knight of SHOWstudio.com for 36 hours, resulting in five short films which were played in the windows of the Parisian department store, Le Printemps. In several of these films, Guinness, a soprano, sang opera arias, making her public musical debut.
  • At the end of 2011, photographers Markus Klinko and Indrani, Daphne Guinness, and stylist GK Reid produced "The Legend of Lady White Snake", a film based on an ancient Chinese legend, wherein Daphne played the complex central role of Lady White Snake.[24] Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote her dialogue for the film.[25]


In 2013, Guinness released a music video entitled Fatal Flaw which was directed by Nick Knight.[26]

In 2014, Guinness released a music video for the song "Evening In Space" the lead single of her debut album set to be release in September. The video was directed by David LaChapelle.

In 2014, Guinness allowed cameras into her Irish home to record an online documentary by David Barron called Daphne Guinness, The Last Leveller that focuses on her musical endeavours and personal musical tastes.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In 1985, when she moved to New York City, she "inherited" many of her sister Catherine's friends. In this way, Guinness came to know Andy Warhol, for whom her sister had been a personal assistant for many years. In 1987, she married Spyros Niarchos, the second son of Stavros Niarchos, the shipping magnate. The couple had three children. Her settlement, obtained at the time of her 1999 divorce, is for an undisclosed sum, which was added to her Guinness inheritance.

She lives in London and Manhattan with her three children: Nicolas Stavros Niarchos (born 1989), Lex Spyros Niarchos (born 1991), and Ines Sophia Niarchos (born 1995).[1]

She has been romantically involved with French TV philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy for a number of years. In an issue Harper's Bazaar (USA) dated February 2011, Guinness confirmed to journalist Derek Blasberg: "He is obviously the love of my life."[28][29]

She insists that she is not eccentric. "I loathe the word," she says. "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."[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e Garratt, Sheryl. Daphne Guinness's glove story, Daily Telegraph, 25 June 2011. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Daphne Guinness". W Magazine. March 2009. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  3. ^ Lyden, Jacki (13 November 2011). "Daphne Guinness: An Icon On Fashion's Cutting Edge". National Public Radio. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "I am convinced that Daphne Guinness and Karl Lagerfeld are the same person". The Beat Buzz. 29 January 2011. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  5. ^ West, Hattie (30 November 2011). "Vanishing Act". Vogue Magazine. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Tamara (21 September 2010). "Never Wear Stilts To Church". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Anderson, Christina (9 November 2012). "Daphne Guinness Style Evolution". Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Donnelly, Erin (26 November 2010). "Naomi Campbell And Daphne Guinness Attend Alexander McQueen's Funeral Wearing His Dramatic Designs". Stylist. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Daphne Guinness". Zimbio. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  10. ^ "The International Best-Dressed List Hall of Fame: Women". Style (Vanity Fair). 2011-07-11. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Johnson, Angela (2010-01-30). "Who's that new Tatler girl? Unknowns make mark in style bible's best-dressed Top 10 - including girl who loves Harrods doughnuts". Mail Online (Daily Mail). Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Daphne Guinness for M·A·C". Maccosmetics.com. 2010-06-14. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  13. ^ Daphne Guinness for MAC, Style and Wisdom, 12 December 2011. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  14. ^ Brant, Peter. "Daphne Guinness". Interview Magazine. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "Daphne Guinness Auction: A Peek Inside The Closet Of A Stylish Eccentric". The Luxe Chronicles. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Alexander, Ella (2010-06-15). "Isabella Blow auction cancelled". British Vogue. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Mau, Dhani (16 February 2012). "Daphne Guinness To Exhibit Isabella Blow's Wardrobe At Central St. Martins And Online". Fashionista. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Rawi, Maysa. The Daphne Guinness collection: Heiress' wardrobe set to fetch thousands at charity auction, Daily Mail, 13 April 2012. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  19. ^ Conti, Samantha (8 May 2013). "Isabella Blow Show Set For London". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  20. ^ Mead, Rebecca. Precarious Beauty, The New Yorker, 26 September 2011. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  21. ^ Fenner, Justin. Daphne Guinness's Fifth Avenue Apartment Is On The Market For $14M, Styleite, 31 January 2012. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Daphne Guinness Being Fierce In Zoo". 26 November 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Daphne Guinness". SHOWstudio. December 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  24. ^ Sparks, Cator. Do It Daphne! Guinness Shines in Short Film Based on Ancient Chinese Legend, Stylelist, 4 March 2012. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  25. ^ Feitelberg, Rosemary. Daphne Guinness and 'The Legend of Lady White Snake', Women's Wear Daily, 7 February 2012. Accessed 3 May 2012.
  26. ^ Choi, Mary H.K. (10 June 2013). "Daphne Guinness's 'Fatal Flaw' Music Video With Nick Knight Is A Triumph". MTV Style. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  27. ^ Barron, David. "Daphne Guinness: The Last Leveller". David V Barron. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  28. ^ Blasberg, Derek (11 February 2011). "The Real Daphne Guinness". Harper's Bazaar. p. 2. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  29. ^ Blasberg, Derek (12 February 2011). "Daphne Guinness: Bernard-Henri Levy 'Is Quite Obviously The Love of My Life'". Huffington Post. 
  30. ^ Donnelly, Laura (9 June 2012). "Heiress Daphne Guinness auctions her wardrobe". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 

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