My daughter and I went to Daphne Guinness’s personal collection of haute couture clothing at the FIT Museum in November. In the first room was an impressive array of shoes that were truly marvels of structural engineering. We didn’t linger in this room, simultaneously feeling a very strong urge to escape an insufferable conversation between the couple standing next to us; the female insisting that clearly Miss Guinness had big feet because one had to have “very large feet” in order to walk in the shoes. She really was quite insistent on this point. My daughter and I, size 9 ½ and 8 ½ respectively, looked at the very large shoes with very small spaces left for actual feet, and gave each other a look: let’s move on shall we? To be so opinionate on such a small point, and then to be so wrong on top of it was too much, at least speak quietly.
We watched the video interview of Miss Guinness reclined on a bed or chaise lounge or something, I’m not sure, it was large enough so that she could lay in such a way as to disturb her clothing as little as possible, talking about her style choices and the importance of being stylish. Interspersed were different images of her, with black hair, then white and then her hallmark white on black. We entered the main exhibit. Presumably the woman has left some clothes in her closet, but there were many outfits. She definitely has a unique look, with a proclivity for cat suits, feathers and sparkles. There was one outfit that was entirely covered in small nails, points at the ready to dissuade anyone who might want to get too close. Silly me, I thought keeping one’s nose in a book was a sufficiently clear signal.
My daughter would have loved it if in addition to listing the designer and materials she had mentioned where on Earth, or elsewhere, she wore these incredible ensembles. All but about two of the manikins were dressed in either black or some form of white. On the wall was a large flat screen T.V. projecting a video of Daphne traipsing around looking dramatic and pensive, her clothes waving in the stormy sky and winds. For me this crossed the line into self-infatuation fetish land, which in the fashion world is…quite a ways off. I left feeling a little uncomfortable by the ostentatious display of useless wealth. None the less, most of the dresses were really beautiful, the craftsmanship impeccable, the spectacle of the artistry fun to behold. There were even one or two outfits I could imagine myself in: if I had really tiny feet and didn’t eat. ever.