Before there was Lady Gaga and way cooler than Anna Dello Russo, there was Daphne Guinness.
Known for her flamboyant sense of style, the fashion icon is the very definition of fashion. Never has there been a time when Guinness stepped onto a red carpet looking like a plain Jane. She is also one of the handful of fashion lovers who has impeccable taste, especially in haute couture. The 47-year-old is often pictured wearing custom made piece from some of the biggest fashion houses in the world.
From Lanvin to Chanel, Dior to Valentino, the 47-year-old continues to make heads turn. Alexander Fury, fashion critic and columnist for London's The Independent, once described her sense of style as something that varies from fashionable to that of complete fantastical.
He adds: "When you see her during events in London or, perhaps, around the haute couture shows in Paris, she is a quixotic apparition, clad in high-fashion fetish-gear and glistening gewgaws and invariably elevated several inches in altitude. Most people are, understandably, petrified of her".
But who exactly is Daphne Guinness?
As her name suggests, she is the heiress of the brewing family - yes, the originator of the dry stout that still bears the family name, as well as a former wife of a billionaire shipping magnate. Her best-known friend was the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
What's interesting about Guinness is the fact that she creates many things for herself. For instance, if she cannot find the right jewellery or perfume scent that she wants to buy, she will work with experts in the field to have it custom made.
In 2012, Guinness auctioned off part of her personal collection, which included many Alexander McQueen creations, to raise money for the Isabella Blow Foundation. According to Vogue, a world record was also set for Alexander McQueen, with an empire-line gown by the designer - along with a portrait of Guinness wearing the dress - sold for £85,250 - far higher than the £15,000-20,000 estimate. A Christian Lacroix world record was also set, as a Spanish-style white lace dress and black matador jacket sold for £16,250.
Despite her out-of-this world style, Guinness insists that she is not eccentric. "I loathe the word," she says. "It has become devoid of meaning: it is a blanket statement hinting at lunacy. Perhaps 'bohemian' might be considered as an alternative word, if one needs to be labelled."