Daphne Guiness Show Closes, With A Diamond Dealer Controversy

Yesterday at Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York closed a three-month run of Daphne Guinness: Fashion Icon, an exhibit of more than 100 couture garments and accessories becoming to the eponymous Daphne, heiress to the Guinness (Stout) fortune, granddaughter to a Mitford, and close friend of the late Alexander McQueen, whose costume show at the Met last year blurred any remaining boundary between art and fashion. (At least for museum payers who lined up to see couture as art object as couture –  when an object costs the mortgage.)

I missed the show and I am sorry about that but given that I deeply admire anybody who can wear these shoes – and that diamonds clearly are not merely the province of Guiness but of (of course) Michael Jackson, and, in skulls, of her art countryman, Damien Hirst – it seemed that virtuality could save the day. (Plus: A late-in-the-day political controversy implicated the show with the politics of its funder, diamond dealer Lev Leviev, accused of illegal encroachments on Palestinian land settlements in open letters to FIT by protesting groups). Fashion is political, across the culture spectrum.

Daphne Guiness before this show came was probably in the public mind a distant third to her good pals Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen (who committed respective suicides in 2007 and 2010.) She grew up rich but not quite the fashionista she later became, according to The Telegraph. Daphne Guiness as a girl deserved the name; she climbed trees, read books, hung around with grammy Mitford, and well, then met McQueen (later). About whom she told The Telegraph: ‘I’ve been (to his Met show) a couple of times, but it breaks me up every time I see it. Because he’s so there.’

Daphne Guiness Alexander McQueen shoes

They didn’t talk about clothes. “He was interested in the way things were made. He wanted to see the seams, and that’s why he wanted to take things apart.’

Funding for the FIT show came from Leviev’s Extraordinary Diamonds, and a Google search revealed that among controversies high fashion can elicit and obsure, perhaps the Mitford past is not entirely gone from Daphne Guiness’s pertinent history. An open letter accuses Lev Leviev of illegal frther encroachments on the Jayyous village and Palestinian land and water rights. Full letter dated January 6th here. The blog Hyperallergic reports that it had requested comment from FIT but had not elicited any. Proof that even the most deluxe , or precisely the most deluxe, these days rarely escape protest.

The Evening Chic display at Daphne Guiness: Fashion Icon


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