11 November 2011


"As I grew older and went out into the world, I realised it was a very unfriendly place to be. And I thought, 'We need Art.'"
A moving glimpse into the privately intriguing world of Daphne Guinness, beautifully captured by Brennan Stasiewicz for Nowness. I admire Daphne hugely - both for her loyalty to art, her own and that of her friends, and her ability to channel both a wealth of life experience and her staggering imagination into creating beauty. She's right. Sometimes when the world is falling in around your ears you need an armour that can protect, but also to act as your visual voice for what cannot be said. Daphne is famous in fashion circles mostly for her sense of personal style, because it can be seen as 'different', 'ostentatious', 'extreme'. I find it interesting what Daphne says about using her style as a 'voice'. Starting 100 years ago, and then back as far as cultural time can remember, women used elaborate costumes and hairstyles as a form of self-expression, the results not being so much different to how Daphne dresses now: veils, platform shoes, staggeringly-high hairstyles, incredible precious gems mined by Europe's Imperial fist. Every outfit was a work of art and beauty. Then the rise of the Feminist movement gave women a voice, and they threw off their armour. And ever since, the world has seemed a little more grey, or as she describes it in The Telegraph - 'flatlining': "What started off as a camouflage became something that made you stick out like a sore thumb. But that wasn't so much me - it was what happened to the rest of the world. Because everybody else sort of flatlined."
On the subject of beauty, I urge you to take 15 minutes to watch Denis Dutton's TED talk on his Darwinian Theory of Beauty. He explores the idea that the human desire to both observe and create art and beauty is deep rooted in our evolutionary origins, long before we even came to be fully 'humans'. You can watch the talk accompanied by excellent cartoons HERE.

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