There have been many exhibitions about individual fashion designers, but surprisingly few on fashion icons. Yet in order for a look to become fashionable, to move off the runway and into real life, it has to be worn by individuals of great personal style. Daphne Guinness is the very image of rarified personal style. She is fearless about wearing the most extreme fashion, and has been an inspiration to many designers, but she is no mere clothes horse. A serious collector of couture, she is also a creative force in her own right. This individualism, often described as eccentricity, is at the heart of Daphne’s appeal. Equally important is her respect for the art of fashion. She has famously said:
"We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can make and support things of rare and precious beauty."
“People who collect clothes get a bad rep because they’re told it’s all vanity,” says Daphne. Historically, it is quite true that collections of fashion have rarely been accorded the respect given to collections of art—or even collections of cars or stamps. Yet Daphne’s collection is no mere assemblage of couture clothes, on a par with Imelda Marcos’s thousands of shoes or the closets of a Saudi princess. It is not simply that her collection includes important couture looks by the greatest designers of our time, she has also acquired cutting-edge garments by young designers. Everything in her closets reflects her knowledge of and respect for the art of fashion. “What draws me to fashion is art … and certainly not fashion as status symbol,” says Daphne. “This exhibition is done for the benefit of those out there, students or otherwise, who share this love.”