Trending: Christie's becomes the go-to haute charity shop

She's a walking fashionplate, a couture-clad collector. So why is Daphne Guinness selling her clothes?

While a wardrobe clear-out for most of us might mean a trip to Oxfam with a couple of binbags, when you're a multi-millionaire and fashion muse, one needs a bit of help to make space in one's armoire.

But that isn't quite why Daphne Guinness, heiress to the beer fortune and granddaughter of Diana Mitford, has donated a selection of 102 of her own dresses, coats, shoes and suits to Christie's, where they will be auctioned next week.

Two years ago, Guinness, 44, halted the planned sale of the late Isabella Blow's wardrobe at Christie's by buying the collection in its entirety. She said at the time that the breaking up of the fashion editor, stylist and muse's belongings would be "carnage".

"It gives me enormous satisfaction," she said yesterday at Christie's, "that my seemingly impetuous decision to purchase the entirety of Isabella's collection is now clearly going to set a few injustices to rights."

The takings will go to The Isabella Blow Foundation, a charity created by Guinness which supports young artists and designers, as well as funding research into depression and mental-health issues. Blow, who died in 2007, is credited with having helped nurture the talents of designer Alexander McQueen and milliner Philip Treacy, among others. Her personal pieces showcase some of Britain's most important designers.

Blow's mantle has been taken on by Guinness in the years since her death. She has been an artist, model, perfumier and designer, among the very small circle of women who still buy bespoke couture clothes from the likes of Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, as well as supporting young London designers and collecting their work.

Recognisable by her idiosyncratic platinum and black-striped beehive, Guinness dresses in a way that is eye-catching and, at times, a bit gothic. Lady Gaga once described her and Blow as "exceptional icons" and soulmates. But many of the pieces going under the hammer are from her early years, before she had honed her personal aesthetic.

A purple textured A-line coat by Christian Dior, estimated to go for £1,000, was a favourite piece during Guinness's late-20s, while a lemon yellow satin and hide bubble dress by Christian Lacroix was the first piece of couture she ever bought, in 1987. There are several pieces created by Alexander McQueen before his death in 2010 – a pair of black leather boots estimated at £2,500 and two dresses worth around £20,000 each – as well as a pair of Guinness's trademark heel-less shoes by Noritaka Tatehana, which took more than eight months to make. Entry-level prices start at around £250 for a Givenchy dress and a Valentino skirt suit.

The Guinness auction collection is as surprising as it is diverse – given her reputation for extreme edginess, many of the pieces are more accessible than you might imagine, and they show a clear evolution in her personal style over the years, from timeless classics to the more outré numbers.

"The clothes are all by really important designers," says Christie's fashion and textiles specialist Clare Borthwick, "and they embody who Daphne is. Pieces from the big houses are always going to be a good investment, but I always advise people to collect things that they love, because you're going to have to look at it every day and you can't always guarantee what's going to make money in the future."

The funds raised by the sale, estimated to reach £100,000, will also go towards the upkeep and maintenance of Blow's extensive collection, which is set to go on show at the London design college Central Saint Martins, McQueen's alma mater, later this year. "The best thing is that [Blow's collection] can be seen and touched and conserved for the next generation of talent," says Guinness.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn