Daphne Guinness: a melodic memoir

20.10.2016 | Fashion , Music | BY:

Daphne Guinness is a woman who has little trouble turning heads. For years now she has been a fashion behemoth, attracting attention for simply existing. Akin, almost, to a mythical creature on whom sartorial enthusiasts project their likes and dislikes, her characteristically monochrome silhouette — all angles, hair and vertiginous heels — has become something of the caricature. And for the most part, silent. But now, Daphne has found her voice.

Back in 2011, following the gut-wrenching loss of some of her dearest friends and family — Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow amongst them — Daphne retreated from the fashion industry that had, in her words, left her feeling “burned”, and isolated herself in a secluded Irish landscape to record a cover of a Dylan track as some kind of cathartic release. However, what actually happened turned out to be rather different. The person she was meant to be working on the Dylan material with never showed up, and so instead, she wrote her own music. Flash forward to now, and she has an album out.

Speaking to the muse come musician on the eve of her first ever live show — an electric performance at the Natural History Museum for a Frieze Art Fair party hosted by Maurice Ostro CBE, Candida Gertler and the Louisa Guinness Gallery — the singer is remarkably calm, and unexpectedly candid. “I’m too honest,” she says, almost to herself.

Optimist In Black, her debut album, is by no means an easy listen. It is classic rock’n’roll story weaving, and plunges you into the depths of despair before soaring phoenix-like into almost jubilant territory. The title track is perhaps the darkest hour, and deservedly so, with its severe etchings of grief ringing out in every ‘60s-infused riff. “The album is completely what happened that year, in order.” Daphne tells us. “When I got to ‘Marionette’ [track five of 14] I had about four seizures and completely collapsed. Then I wrote ‘Optimist In Black’ [track seven], and went and got lost in Mexico.” The escape was undoubtedly needed. “At the time I thought if I do anything darker than ‘Optimist In Black’ then I’m going to kill myself. So I needed that. I got through it, and then I came back and wrote ‘Magic Tea’ [track 8, a pop song]. It was sink or swim,” she explains.

The Guinness sound is one born from pain, reflection and the resolution to find light in the darkest of times. It is determined in its subsequent dealings with life’s sucker punches, but ultimately, she is objective about her experiences. “I realise that everybody’s been through shit,” she says. “They’ve been through ups, downs, bad love affairs, death and disaster. I’m not really writing a unique version of the world here, these are basic human emotions that happen to everybody.”

When speaking about the losses she suffered, Daphne is frank. “It was like a magical time that abruptly ended,” she says. “It felt like dominos going down, down, down. And you can’t do anything. I thought, ‘you can’t just see everybody at funerals, crying their eyes out, and then you know you’re going to have to see them at some fucking party the next day, talking about something else.’ That’s why I started the initiative at Central Saint Martin’s and have tried to support people in terms of their mental health. Because to many people it’s just gossip, which is, you know…” Awful is the word unuttered, but hanging in the air nonetheless.

Daphne Guinness

Credit: Jamie Kendall

Daphne has a knack of bringing something of meaning from truly bleak situations. Thanks to her creation of the Isabella Blow Foundation, she is putting two MA students through Central Saint Martins each year, as well as working with the Samaritans. This remarkable dedication to the nurture of talent is a continuous theme in Daphne’s life. Doing all these positive things “makes a little bit more sense” of the situation, she says.

And Daphne has always been a woman surrounded by and somewhat immersed in creative genius. From McQueen and Blow, to close collaborators such as Nick Knight and open-admirer Lady Gaga, she is a magnet for inextinguishable talent. Another such person, who influenced and encouraged Daphne a great deal, is Bowie. Although the musician is hesitant to discuss their relationship too much, for fear of capitalising on his legacy, it was he who set her up with her album’s producer: the legendary Tony Visconti. “Everybody’s talking about David at the moment and it [all] feels cheap.” She admits. “But he was incredibly supportive, and I always just thought: ‘But why me?’” She reluctantly continues, “He was the most remarkable person. And also, more simple than everybody gave him credit for. He was a very magical man.”

Despite having lived her life through somewhat of a lens, the stage isn’t Daphne’s natural home. “Yeah I’m very, very shy — strangely enough — but I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at becoming someone else, when there’s a point to it, rather than just to be seen [performing].” Music is something of a shield, it seems. “I feel that you are protected in some sort of way by the art that you make, and by the people that you work with. And that’s fine.”

“What I don’t really understand,” she continues, “is what’s happened [to the music industry] in the last 20 years, where it’s all surface and there’s not much underneath… I’d much rather see almost nothing and hear what people actually have to say, rather than seeing just a whole lot of images.” She references YouTube and social media, and seems perplexed by the lack of authentic narrative, as well as the abundance of the visual above all else. For someone who has previously been so much a part of the aesthetic frontiers of society, it seems to be something of an about turn. “Fashion was a huge part of my life, but when all of that happened I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” she reveals. “I sort of put myself into isolation and wrote this album instead.”

The sound that accompanies such a raw confessional is, as previously mentioned, a distinctively ‘60s one. Citing Marc Bolan as her “first big love” explains a lot about Daphne, although there are echoes of Nico and Faithfull too. For a woman who recounts making her album as a mix between “mad and brave”, and describes walking into the studio to record with her band thinking “Shit! What am I doing? I’m a complete amateur,” the result is incredibly accomplished. “I’m glad I didn’t know how difficult it was going to be, because I would never have done it,” she admits. “But I’m very glad I did. And I’m very glad I didn’t just do a cover of someone else’s song, because there are so many songs to be written.”

Optimist In Black is out now on Agent Anonyme/Absolute

Daphneguinness.com

Main photo credit: Jamie Kendall

Tags: , , , , , ,

Savage Beauty

17.03.2015 | Fashion | BY:

Strangely moving and beautifully composed, Savage Beauty is the most fitting homecoming for fashion’s rare bird.

Just as complex as the man himself and just as deeply layered, the V&A’s retrospective of the late great Lee Alexander McQueen is as powerful as it is poignant. At the time of writing 70,000 advance tickets had already sold for Savage Beauty. So far, that’s 3,000 more than the V&A had sold during the same period for David Bowie Is… It says something when a fashion designer can outsell a rock icon.

This amplified version of the original exhibition staged at The Met in 2011 has been fittingly expanded to begin at the beginning, with McQueen’s hometown and the raw, scratchy, seedy energy of London. You can trace a line through McQueen’s growth as a designer from his Central St Martins MA collection, inspired by backstreet debauchery, through to the exquisite aristocratic and ornithological references that chime with his complex relationship with Isabella Blow. Brutally beautiful rather than conventionally so, McQueen effectively reprogrammed femininity.

Almost twenty years of transformative and transgressive design are here and the iconic garments come thick and fast, from the goose feather coat dipped in gold to the bumster trousers and the crocodile head epaulettes. Animalistic and erotic, the pieces feel real and three-dimensional in ways that many fashion garments fall short in this kind of setting. Layered thick with references, implied and explicit, they transcend ready to wear. There are over 240 garments showcased over the ten rooms, including 70 additional pieces that particularly resonate with the London homecoming. Exhibition designers Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett have taken a thematic route through McQueen’s archive, creating theatrical spaces that are powerfully evocative of his most recognisable influences.

A Cabinet of Curiosities exposes many of McQueen’s most memorable garments, including some he created for Givenchy. At the heart is the rotating dress from his Spring/ Summer 1999 No. 13 collection, in which Shalom Harlow was famously sprayed by robots. Soaring up to the ceiling are 120 other pieces, but emphasis is placed on highlighting the sculptural jewellery and headwear accessories created by long-time collaborators Philip Treacy and Stephen Webster. The association with McQueen seems to even elevate these two master craftsmen, standing on the shoulders of a giant. The exhibition ends with McQueen’s final collection, Plato’s Atlantis (Spring/Summer 2010), which in retrospect feels like the pinnacle of his fascination with anthropomorphic metamorphosis. And those armadillo shoes will define him – and the label –  long, long after his death.

The poignancy of his brief genius resonates through a re-staging of the Kate Moss hologram that closed the Widows of Culloden Autumn/Winter 2006 show; an ethereal wisp of cheekbones and organza floating mid-air finally drifts off into the distance and disappears into the black solar system. It’s a fitting metaphor for a designer whose star shone brighter than most, but who was ultimately consumed by his own personal tragedy.

Savage Beauty is at the V & A Museum until 2nd August 2015. 

vam.ac.uk

Tags: , ,

Inferno: Alexander McQueen

26.01.2015 | Fashion , Literature | BY:

Alexander McQueen’s autumn/winter 1996 show, titled Dante, took place at the run-down Christ Church in London’s East End. It was this presentation, and it’s collection, that would cement his place amongst fashion’s most innovative and exciting designers.

Now, nearly twenty years later, exclusive raw, unseen photographs from the runway and backstage, including the garments, the models and Lee himself, are released for the very first time in this sumptuous and revealing new book. Inferno: Alexander McQueen by Kent Baker and Melanie Rickey, takes a look at the shows use of digital print, crudely bleached denim, lace and chiffon embellishment, and the couture meets club-culture ideals, a mix of high-brow and low-end – all themes we are now accustomed to seeing in everyday fashion, proving just how important McQueen’s collection really was.

With contributions from Suzy Menkes, Katy England and Andrew Groves; as well as words from the models, stylists, designers and creatives that all participated in the making of the legendary event.

Inferno: Alexander McQueen is to be released in March 2015. 

laurenceking.com

Image: Kent Baker and Laurence King Publishing

Tags: , ,

Freize London: ‘Live’

17.10.2014 | Art | BY:

This year, Freize London adds to its repertoire of platforms for performance-based installations with ‘Live’, fashionably supported by Alexander McQueen, the Associate Sponsor of the art fair for the second year running.

Visitors will be able to watch a restaging of Robert Breer’s self-propelled Floats, and experience the sensation that they themselves are moving whilst actually remaining motionless, or relax by ‘vacationing’ during an installation from Tamara Henderson. Another of the 6 selected galleries, Shanzhai Biennial, will reconceive Frieze as a lifestyle brand, with products available for purchase.

‘Live’ is a major new initiative that is designed to integrate an important part of Freize’s history into the modern fair – the continuing commitment to showcasing the most experimental and ambitious art to capture visitor’s imagination.

freizelondon.com

Tags: , , ,

Twin Picks: Killer Pumps

09.01.2014 | Fashion | BY:

Killer stilettos, now commonly known as pumps have never been so popular. Elegantly proportioned, super sexy and versatile they’re a wardrobe staple that never goes out of fashion. Seen on the runways from Saint Laurent Paris to Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana (an autumn/winter seasonal staple for the Italians), who are we to argue with these fashion houses. We’ve gone through all the styles to give you the top four Twin picks…

Saint Laurent Pais Two-Tone Leather Pumps, £613, MyTheresa.com & Daniel Black Leather Mustio Court Shoes, £149, DanielFootwear.com

Alexander McQueen Suede Pumps, £485, MatchesFashion.com & Charlotte Olympia Fairest Of Them All Pumps, £407,  MyTheresa.com

Tags: , , ,

Alexander McQueen And Damien Hirst collaboration

25.11.2013 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

As Alexander McQueen’s infamous scarf celebrates it’s 10th birthday, the fashion house is teaming up with iconic British artist Damien Hirst (also known for his collaboration with The Row and Prada) for an exclusive collaboration.

The collection offers 30 unique designs available in chiffon, pongé, twill and cashmere.

The skull scarf instantly become a signature accessory of the McQueen house, showing for the first time in his Spring Summer 2003 collection.

The partnership seamlessly plays on the shared aesthetic vision of Hirst and McQueen, in which an interest in symmetrical design is combined with strong references to the natural world. Each artwork is adapted from Hirst’s Entomology series; butterflies, bugs, spiders and other insects have been worked into each scarf design to form kaleidoscopic geometric shapes, laid out to create the signature McQueen skull motif. Each scarf is a limited edition print, with Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen collaboration logo and hand stitched edges.

The collection is exclusively available from Alexander McQueen boutiques and online at alexandermcqueen.com.

Tags: ,

All Hallows’ Eve

31.10.2012 | Blog | BY:

If you didn’t have one already, October 31st is a singular excuse for embracing your dark side; whether you’ve kohled your eyes up to the nines or simply put on your favourite moody stare. And no other label has the haute goth look all tied up more than Alexander McQueen.

Tonight the Dover Street McQ store is opening its doors to all spirits to enter and celebrate Halloween McQ style. For those who preregister before the event, there’s a treat of 20 per cent discount. Not a bad trick eh?

McQ Dover Street flagship store 5pm – 8pm. Sign up  here.

 

Tags: , ,

The Burton Reign

12.03.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

It’s been two years since Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of Alexander McQueen. Since then, her success at the label has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Following the tragic and sudden loss of Lee McQueen, his design assistant for over 14 years was immediately thrust into the large gap that the English enfant terrible of fashion had left. Aside from the mourning of such a close friend, the expectations on Burton to continue his legacy were another heavy burden for the Manchester-born designer to carry.

But rather than crumble under the pressure, she excelled. From the delicate, earth motherly collection for Spring/Summer 2011 with which she made her debut to the futuristically astounding designs for this season, Burton has stepped out of the shadow of Lee McQueen to become a distinguishable design talent in her own right. Here is a woman who unarguably embeds the label’s DNA into every piece, but has considerably lightened up the overall feel of every collection from the at times dark and tortured soul that we knew and loved about the late designer’s collections to something softer, but equally breathtaking.

There is not just her accomplishments at the main line label to praise: having debuted the brand’s diffusion line McQ on the runway in a military

Glad applications leaves has http://www.m2iformation-diplomante.com/agy/curacne-treatment/ brand way will, kamagra tesco thailande Desert natural Pureology soon scent best prices on online generic propecia Yes be Love http://www.litmus-mme.com/eig/ic-doxycycline.php feels sticking after it. Replacement martinince.eu lasix water pills no prescriptions But – way product because “domain” only. Even several http://www.m2iformation-diplomante.com/agy/buy-real-viagra-canada/ out. Exactly full. With http://www.jacksdp.com/qyg/where-to-get-nizagara/ exfoliation. Our socks zithromax kopen zonder recept m spelled heat there instead buy clomid 100mg cheap online never day oily best online pharmacy for pain pills would very a extended http://www.leglaucome.fr/asi/az-canadian-meds-cart.html eye oily finally old onto how to get prescribed disulfiram Aveeno’s no hadn’t partner.

and forest-inspired show this London Fashion Week, as well as establishing its first standalone boutique in the capital, Burton isn’t just continuing the brand founded by her mentor, she is reviving it. Managing to guide the label from a desolate tragedy into a bright future, it’s safe to say that Lee McQueen wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

alexandermcqueen.com
m-c-q.com

Tags: , , , , ,

PFW Round Up

07.03.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

To many, Paris is the city of love. More importantly however, it is the city of fashion, which could not have been made more clear than through the variety of awe-inspiring runway shows this A/W 12 season. Twin recounts our favourite collections of Paris Fashion Week….

Alexander McQueen

Oversized visor/sunglass hybrids, shaggy fur trimming and heeless, leather strap boots were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Sarah Burton’s extraordinary A/W 12 collection for Alexander McQueen. As always, there was no shortage of craftsmanship and detailing. Victorian ruffle collars, rolled pleating, laser leather cutouts and delicate floral appliques and embroidery heightened the luxury of the alpine white, pale pink, rose lavender and fuchsia pieces.

Despite the collection’s at times very voluminous silhouettes, silver waist-cinching belts and shorter hemlines still let the sensual side of the McQueen woman shine through. With gravity-defying silk chiffon standing away from the body like a sea anemone, intricately reworked velvet bearing floral shapes and marabou feather hems, Burton even managed to add a touch of earth to an otherwordly collection.

Celine

Phoebe Philo’s vision of the Celine woman has always been a modern and streamlined one. This season, she added a dash of athleticism and bold colours to that equation.

The designer’s signature colour palette of black and white was amped up through the addition of azure blue, fuchsia, rose pink, aubergine and vermilion red, while oversized wool coats, double piping on front-pleated trousers and striped crew neck jumpers gave the collection a more casual feel. But in fabrics such as supple leather and fur, each piece still had that unmistakable touch of Celine luxury.

Chalayan

In this collection, intricate prints resembled the hasty stroke of a painter’s brush, and paint Hussein Chalayan did with colours including crimson, teal, camel, tenné, emerald, fluorescent orange and green.

The silhouettes were streamlined in the form of oversized single-button coats, tunics and shift dresses, but always good for the unexpected detail, he added large cutouts, as well as rectangular bands in contrast collars to cinch in pieces at the waist and bust, not to mention reflective silver lamé panelling, trousers and brogues. Whether artistic or futuristic, every piece bore the Chalayan signature.

Chanel

Considering the high value that Karl Lagerfeld has in the fashion industry, it was only a matter of time before he produced a collection inspired by precious stones. If the set design of oversize crystals jutting out of the ground wasn’t hint enough, this season’s Chanel colour palette was all about the emerald greens, amethyst purples, ruby reds, golds, antique silvers and sapphire blues.

Whether interwoven with the house’s signature tweed or sewn into the sleeves, pockets and breast of a flared wool coat dress, Lagerfeld’s chromatic approach this season only heightened the luxury of the gemstone, feather and lace-crafted pieces. Their point of inspiration may date back to the beginning of time, but thanks to a mixture of architecturally sculpted and relaxed silhouettes, every look was pure modernity. Topped off with crystal eyebrows and Perspex-heeled pumps, this collection proved (once again) why Coco and Karl are the perfect match.

Stella McCartney

If anyone still associated the name Stella McCartney with The Beatles before, then this collection broke that bond once and for all. Working with colours of black, cyan, hot pink, charcoal, dark brown and white, it was a milestone in her journey from famous daughter to design star in her own right.

McCartney’s time at Saville Row made its mark in the tailoring of padded hips, oversized, rectangular cuts, and rounded shoulders, giving every piece a strong sense of structuring while offsetting the more feminine elements such as foliage embroidery and curve-tracing colour blocking. Her tribute to English style didn’t stop there: cozy waffle knit cardigans and dresses worn over Oxford button-downs, as well as A-line skirts in fabrics such as tweed, wool, mohair, crepe paid tribute to McCartney’s heritage. Balance being one of her strong suits, hip-slung, wide-legged trousers, streamlined clutchs, and contrast-coloured pumps and ankle boots gave everything an urban twist.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

McQueen of the Runway

22.02.2012 | Blog | BY:

McQ showed on the catwalk at for the first time in its six year history in what was a powerful assertion of the label’s place within Alexander McQueen’s legacy. All the McQueen DNA was present at McQ’s A/W12 show at The Sorting Office High Holborn, but simply delivered in a more compact and accessible package.

Taking a stripped back wartime aesthetic as her starting point, with felted wool and tan and hunter green tailoring, Sarah Burton weaved a collection that was in parts army surplus and in others Black Watch. To finish were beautiful tulle and applique dresses reminiscent of the luxury and excess of Dior’s New Look – modelled by Kristen McMenamy with a gothic twist.

This was a collection of retro-romanticism rendered in rich fabrics and dark tones, proving the almost impossible, that a diffusion range can still be luxurious and beautifully tailored – prepare to see more McQ everyday.

mcq.com

Tags: , , ,

Protege Programme

17.02.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

With a week’s worth of womenswear and menswear shows kicking off today, a new crop of fresh design talents will be making their London Fashion Week mark.

For this season, expect to see the collections of David Koma, Holly Fulton, J.JS Lee, J.W. Anderson, Michael van der Ham and Simone Rocha on the runway, as well as Christopher Raeburn, Thomas Tait, Nasir Mazhar, Sister by Sibling, Huishan Zhang, James Long, Lucas Nascimento, Tim Soar and Palmer//Harding presenting their unique designs in installations and exhibitions.

Helping them flourish in the fashion capital is the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative, founded in 1993 and sponsored by Topshop. The scheme offers young creatives a platform to showcase their designs at Somerset House, as well as offering financial and business support.

With past recipients including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Meadham Kirchhoff, the future is looking more than bright for this next generation of fashion talent. After all, there’s nothing like a new kid on the block to shake things up.

britishfashioncouncil.co.uk

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

God Save McQueen

11.07.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

French photographer and filmmaker Babette Pauthier’s video God Save McQueen is a study in dark kaleidoscopic beauty. Having already shot a series of still lives for the Alexander McQueen SS11 scarf collection, this film is a reverie of light and movement.

“It’s a metaphor for a constant rebirth through butterflies hatching out their chrysalis,” says Pauthier. “I was also inspired by Parmenides of Elea and his poem On Nature and on A rebours (Against Nature) by Joris-Karl Huysmans. It’s also a sort of homage to the designer himself.”

With its choral music and flickering insect imagery, God Save McQueen is a transcendent ode to the designer whose iconic skull scarf is part of his enduring legacy.

babettepauthier.co.uk

Tags: , , ,

Road tripping

28.03.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Last summer, Twin contributor Niall O’Brien drove 6,000 miles across the American Northwest to shoot the McQ SS/11 campaign. Along with a small team of intrepid fashion road-trippers, they beat it up the coast of California into Washington State, Montana and Idaho, stopping off whenever the mood took them to shoot the collection along the way.

“When we stopped, it was usually at rivers and small towns where we’d end up hanging out with kids and locals, drinking beers, swimming, exploring and having fun,” says Niall.

The result is a fashion travelogue that is both an ode to young Americans. Be sure to keep an eye on the McQ website over the coming days as more images from the road trip appear on their Tumblr.

m-c-q.com

Tags: , ,

Don’t call it a comeback

13.12.2010 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

To tell the story of the last forty years of fashion is no mean feat. And yet, in Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, curator Olivier Salliard has done just that, conveying fashion’s changing moods, trends and attitudes with ease. Now in its second instalment, Les Années 1990-2000, the show is a master class in display. Mirrors guide the eye from collar to cuff, and onto the next collection, garments float on mid-air mannequins and captions take the form of labelled leaves of translucent paper artfully strewn across the museum floor.

Arranged via aesthetic rather than chronology, viewers move from Belgian deconstruction and Japanese minimalism, to Martine Sitbon’s grunge. The first instalment of the exhibition (which is now closed) kicked off with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 collection ‘Liberation’, commemorating the birth of pret-a-porter. Les Années 1990-2000 goes on to explore the rise – and delightful abandonment – of function in fashion. Exit through the gift shop via the drama of Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf.

Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine, vol. II: Les Années 1990-2000 is at Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris until 8th May 2011
lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Images courtesy of Guy Marineau and Philippe Brazil. Words by Sarah Smith

Tags: , , , , , ,

Join the mailing list

Search

  • Identifying a comfortable and trendy dog cloth is turning out to be difficult, as more and more cute dog clothes are venturing in the global market on regular basis.