From the 20th of November - 2nd March an exhibition of Isabella Blow’s wardrobe (which Daphne rescued from sale) will be taking place at Somerset House, London.
Daphne’s thoughts on the exhibition: “This exhibition is, to me, a bittersweet event. Isabella Blow made our world more vivid, trailing colour with every pace she took. It is a sorrier place for her absence. When I visited her beloved clothes in a storage room in South Kensington, it seemed quite clear the collection would be of immense value to a great many people. I do believe that in choosing to exhibit them we’ve done the right thing – and that it is what she would have wanted. I am doing this in memory of a dear friend, in the hope that her legacy may continue to aid and inspire generations of designers to come”.
On Wednesday this week I had the pleasure of finally meeting Daphne. After a few years running and tending to this blog it culminated in being introduced to her at Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio. Whilst it is not usually advised to meet those you admire, she was just as kind, charming and fantastically dressed as I’d imagined. It was a privilege.
This week SHOWstudio launches it’s latest gallery venture- the SHOWcabinet – the first iteration of which launches this week in collaboration with the Honorable Daphne Guinness.
Over the past twelve years, SHOWstudio.com has collected and collated an array of wonderous and awe inspiring online content from filmmakers, writers and cultural figures. Through moving image, illustration, photography and the written word, the website provides a dynamic archive which reflects the endlessly changing creative sphere that it operates within and documents. We now intend to reflect this online wunderkammer within our physical space. The SHOWstudio SHOWcabinet manifests itself as part cabinet of curiosities, part commissioned installation space. Each month one artist or designer will be commissioned to create a piece which adheres to the dimensions of the central compartment of the cabinet. From tailoring to taxidermy, millinery to photography, the initiative provides a unique platform for artists from all disciplines.
Initially conceived of in Renaissance Europe, the curiosity cabinet or wunderkammer was originally a room rather than a piece of furniture. It housed objects and artefacts that defied easy categorisation and was often complete with exotic items from seemingly disparate and unrelated topics. It housed objects as diverse as historical relics, botanical specimens, works of art and scientific implements and presented a romantic vision of a dynamic and ever transforming world. The SHOWcabinet will embrace these characteristics and showcase the most innovative and diverse objects and artefacts from the worlds of fashion, art and beyond.
SHOWcabinet’s debut show is centred around The Honorable Daphne Guinness. On the shelves Guinness launches her debut single ‘Fatal Flaw’. Released as a limited edition 7-inch vinyl with unseen artwork by Nick Knight and penned by Guinness herself, this considered track affords unparalleled proximity to this elusive icon. Alongside the vinyl sits Guinness’ armoured glove, anchoring her cabinet’s central themes of beauty, brutality, revolution and romance.
Created in collaboration with famed jeweler Shaun Leane, and titled ‘Contra Mundum’ or ‘Against The World’, this handcrafted, intricately made objet d’art took five years to complete and is perhaps one of the most technically advanced pieces of artisan jewellery in the world. A rare 17th century copy of Shakespeare’s tragedies is also unearthed next to a collection of Shelley’s poetry and Pancha Tantra, a limited edition book of Walton Ford’s illustrations. Other items, like a Diptyque Fig candle (her favourite), and the perfume Guinness created in cooperation with perfumer Antoine Lie and in collaboration with the house of Comme des Garcons add another dimension to the installation. Daphne’s love of the zodiac is also expressed with an arrangement of scorpions behind glass – precisely assembled by Guinness to represent her own star sign. Iconic designs created by Gareth Pugh and Norikata Tatehana also appropriately mingle in Guinness’ cabinet, representing the high fashion she has always championed.
The SHOWcabinet opens this week and visitors can see Daphne Guinness’ installation from Thursday 21st February from 11am.