Those that own the brands, own the story to hold the brand — and in offering that, carry forward their own story.
Setting style, imagination, art and the making of scene, scent sent.
“She is one of the – if not the – most stylish women living.”
Designer and film director
Working in NYC, at Girvin|NYC and WSL|Strategic Retail, I went to check out the new Daphne Guinness show at FIT, the galleries. The character of Ms. Guinness, for a newly curious — and perhaps unexposed — outsider, is impossible to describe or define. Then, out of the blue, a blast from M.A.C. shown above.
What is she? Style icon? Narcissist self nation? Mother? Armored maiden — connoisseur
of protective cladding? Artist couture investor? Fashion collector cum style administratrix? Woman of style, bolstered with substance? Hard to define — and there are many descriptive phrases out there. Her life is a fascinating alchemy between the amalgam of supreme glamour and stylistic compulsion — framed in the gravity of a personally disciplined envisioning — where to be, what to look like, and how is the story to be told?
She sees a story in the story of her life — her visioning of herself, of design, of couture, of colour, magic (perfume) and perhaps a highly mystical sense of being in the heart of the story of her — and how she, the persona herself fits into the art direction of her being. This expresses the art sentiment — a salience of connection, between fashion, design and the imaginative nature of art / clothing / draping and experience. She can be, is the artist, in the performance of her gathering — her embracements of brands, fashion genius, and how it’s assembled on and about her.
This framing of story, legend, the mythic in the personally applied iconizing of her — and the clothes and accessories that she wears, and what that means for a holistic presence. In recounting some earlier notes on correspondence with Joseph Campbell, the centermost scholar of mythological patterning, I was thinking about the psychic placement of Daphne — weaving myth and dream round herself, because I believe, in watching and studying her as human brand — on brand on brand — the human brand enmeshed in the brand storytelling — is more than just “pretty.” Daphne is layering stories and personal mythologies, even dream explorations — in what she collects, gathers to wear, and the wares that she wears.
To the nature of the psychic place, and the spirit of design, creativity in the brand that is the person — what of perfume, her scent? Daphne isn’t new — the perfume — it’s older, launched 2009. Lucky offers, ”
“a colorful study in opposites— a theme that runs through her new fragrance for Comme des Garcons. The self-named Daphne was not just a concept dreamed up by some glamorous fashionista then forgotten; she worked tirelessly with Adrian Joffe and CdG to blend something that was rich in woods, sparse in frou-frou florals, and infused with notes that represented her favorite places on earth: Spain, the Middle East, France, Ireland. Daphne is a fragrance that belongs to no one place but would be welcome in many. It’s instantly sophisticated but with an opulent, wild flavor. The softness of vanilla and the edge of bitter orange, the sensuality of incense and the innocent purity of rose centifolia… these are just a few of the contradictions in Daphne’s stunning blend. Classy, a little wacky, and totally magnetic, Daphne is standout in any perfume lover’s collection.“
Just for the sake of fragrance reference –
the notation of scent sequence shows — the following:
bitter orange, incense, saffron, rose centifolia, Tunisian jasmine, tuberose, iris, patchouli, oud, amber, vanilla
Daphne Guinness and the storytelling of her brand — and film — and Daphne Guinness (Mnemosyne –also shown in the FIT galleries). Earlier in the year, it’s been announced that Ms. Guinness is launching her own company. Meanwhile, previews emerge — like her “The Legend of Lady White Snake.”
As I watch her films — designed and personally envisioned and directed by herself, for herself — it is about the layering of enigma and charisma in the sheathing of fabrics, metals, jewels, leathers and the armatures of how these are commingled creating something to the mystery of who she is, and where she might be going. Which might be the notion of art, on the art of her — vision, body, memory, journey.
What I am curious about is the artfulness of the passion fire of the brand unto the brand. In the business of people that are brand — which is surely part of the work that we do — humans build brands, attract and inflame brands, ripple communities around brands. To Daphne, there are projects that reach out, and reach back to her — what she is exploring, which might be herself. But that notion of design, jewelry, art — there’s a cyclone that whirls around her, and her personal visioning — which is what she sees, buys, wears in the hold of her personal “carrying” of the story / design / revelations in the brand, on brand, on brand.
She is the brand, wearing and seeking brand — which creates the tertiary equation — of Daphne, wearing — the intermingling is the passion itself. Or rather, herself.
In Daphne Guinness, Undressed, Nowness notes “Documentary filmmaker Brennan Stasiewicz infiltrates the cosseted world of Daphne Guinness in Daphne’s Window. Featuring intimate footage of the icon at her Fifth Avenue apartment, the short follows the eccentric fashion patron and socialite as she prepares for her recent installation in the windows of Barneys New York. The storefront showcased her collection of pieces by designer Lee Alexander McQueen and a selection from the archive of fashion editor Isabella Blow, which Guinness purchased in its entirety last year. The display culminated in a performance art piece in which Guinness dressed for the Met ball in one of the flagship’s windows, modeling a lilac feathered gown designed by McQueen’s Sarah Burton. “She appears to me as someone always in a window,” says Stasiewicz. “Someone you can approach and see, but you remain on the other side.”
What I take in the metaphor of the window, the portal, the flow from the one side to the other is the allegory of her — what is on the inside, and what is on the outside. If the outside is a spectacle of couture wonderments — then what, to the inside, the other side of the psychic panes.
In exploring any brand, any enterprise, there is always the hunt for what lies within, and what lies beneath, there is a psychic language to the brand that’s not merely about operational mechanisms — soul lives there; and the soul, the seething “sea” of the brand is something that is just as alive and forceful as any business tactical strategy for how to market the plan, build the leveraged buyout or scoop the foundations of the competition. Without soul, there’s nothing. It’s just a machine.
Ringing the circular visioning of the fashion place, I find fascination in how the human character so complexly interplays — that interlacement is just as enchanting as the quality of the story itself.
Tim | NYC | FIT Galleries
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