Daughter of Irish brewing heir Jonathan Guinness and granddaughter of Diana Mitford, the Honorable Daphne Guinness is perhaps best-known for her consumption of ready-to-wear and couture clothing; being an ardent supporter of established designers, namely Azzedine Alaïa and Chanel as well as a mentor and champion of lesser-known talent. Over the past few years, Guinness has undertaken an increasing number of creative (and charitable) ventures, including producing Oscar-nominated film 'Cashback' with Sean Ellis in 2006, designing a silver 'glove' in collaboration with jeweller Shaun Leane in 2007, and auctioning 1000+ items from her wardrobe for Womankind in 2008. Her latest endeavor is 'Daphne', a fragrance created in collaboration with Comme des Garçons. A handful of press (predominantly those from printed publications to accommodate their long lead times) were invited to an intimate breakfast on Thursday morning to celebrate her debut signature scent, ahead of its official launch in September. Held at The George, a private club in Guinness' Mayfair neighborhood, the event brought together the perfume's key players: Guinness herself, president of Comme des Garçons Adrian Joffe and perfumer Antoine Lie. In a revelatory conversation led by fashion commentator and Escentric Molecules co-founder Tim Blanks, the three personalities spoke at great length about the motivations, inspirations, working process behind the perfume's creation and Guinness' experience at the eminent Paris laboratory Givaudan.
In addition to Comme des Garçons' successful and unconventional-smelling ranges of perfume (which at present, currently includes twenty varying lines) the company has partaken in numerous collaborations in the past couple of years - 'Daphne' is the third, following last year's Hinoki created in partnership with Monocle magazine and the violet-heavy fragrance courtesy of milliner Stephen Jones. Guinness has a long-standing relationship with both Joffe and the four-storey Dover Street Market store. As well as being a dedicated, high-spending customer, Guinness' continued friendship with Joffe is based on his admiration for her constant enthusiasm, passion and intuition. He first invited Guinness to create a capsule collection of shirts for the store back in 2007 - described by Guinness as her 'perfect five white shirts', the designs were realised with the help of Antony Price in white cotton pique, finished with pearl buttons. Joffe offered up that Guinness always has a very precise idea of exactly what she wants and that, like with all Comme des Garçons perfumes, there was not any market research involved in the process - 'you cannot create a great perfume that way'.
Other than revealing the 'Daphne' packaging -a clean white linen paper box with black gloss interior, a blood-red velvet bag nestling a 50ml glass bottle- I'm not at liberty to divulge any more of the perfume's particulars until its official launch, scheduled for 4 September at Dover Street Market (worldwide on 18 September). Keen to describe the fragrance without using words, Guinness is planning a 'visual feast' for the shop interior as well as an accompanying short film.