Daphne Guinness In 24 Hours


Wearing an Alexander McQueen duck- and ostrich-feather gown 

7AM I tend to wake up naturally if I’ve had a reasonable night’s sleep, but I’m quite nocturnal when I work. If I’ve been working very late and have not stirred by 10, my housekeeper will knock on the bedroom door. I don’t go in for alarms.

7.30AM A cup of English tea with milk and two sugars brings me back to life. I sometimes forget to have breakfast, but if I’m hungry I’ll have crumpets or toast with Marmite. No two days are the same, but generally I go through the papers while I eat breakfast or in the car or on a flight if I’m going to a meeting. I like to read the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, and The Huffington Post. In London the Sunday papers with all their supplements are great.

8AM I try to spend some time on a cross-trainer, but I also love swimming. 8.30AM I’ll have a hot bath, never showers. Nothing restores your skin like a bit of olive oil added to the water. I sing or listen to music while I’m in the bath. My favourite musicians are Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. Make-up includes Charlotte Tilbury, Tom Ford, MAC, and Nars. I layer my scents, and I mix a variation of one combination I particularly like; the perfume I released a few years ago with Comme des Garçons was based on it. Two of my favourite notes are patchouli and tuberose. I love incense, too. I don’t always smell the same, as each day I make the balance of one note differ from the next. The story of my hair is quite boring. The white streak happened by accident with a hairdresser friend, and it just stuck. It’s rather become me. I often do it myself, and I keep an emergency stash of peroxide with me when I travel. If I style it myself, it takes five minutes – I couldn’t live without Elnett hairspray by L’Oréal. I use Kérastase shampoo and conditioner.

9AM I step out of the bath and decide what to wear while listening to music blaring. It takes much less time than people assume. I dress intuitively, depending on my mood. I think it’s important to not take one’s self too seriously. I can be quite experimental with my clothes. If in doubt, I’ll wear a Chanel suit or a grey knee-length McQueen dress; Alexander made me one, and I liked it so much I ordered a few of them. The fit is so beautiful – a celebration of the silhouette. My shoes are mostly by Natacha Marro or Noritaka Tatehana. I might throw on a turban or a veil, and I love jewellery, brooches especially. I scold myself for breaking something, be it a glass or a nail. This happens almost daily.

9.30AM When I leave the house I always bring an iPod, headphones, a notepad, and a fountain pen. I’ve yet to wean myself off Nicorette gum. God knows how much I chew, perhaps 10 pieces a day. My favourite mode of transportation is the train; you can’t beat it. Funnily enough, I own only one car – an old army jeep, which is out of service. I tend to take cabs, and I only really drive in LA, where I’ll hire a Porsche. There’s nothing like having the wind in your hair and the California sun on your skin.

10AM Most days I check in with my team in London for an update on whatever project we’re juggling. The Isabella Blow Foundation, which I founded in her honour, has been up and running for two years now, and is responsible for granting scholarships to students in fashion. I’ve also been recording music, which has become something of an obsession, and is where the nocturnal behaviour kicks in.

10.30AM I read my first e-mail of the day whenever I remember. I’m not terribly good at checking my e-mails, though I seem to receive an awful lot of them. I wish we could all go back to faxes; I like to have something tangible in front of me. I’m slightly better with phone calls. I have three cell phones – two BlackBerrys (one US and one UK) and an iPhone. Rare is the day that I don’t misplace at least two of them. But I try to write to friends by hand as much as possible, and I correspond with my Twitter friends almost daily.

12PM My wardrobe assistant, Teresa, is with me a lot when I travel. If I’m doing a shoot, I tend to drink one or two Red Bulls. I prefer the sugar-free one. No day is the same as its predecessor. I might have four or five meetings on one day but none on another. If I feel like procrastinating, I listen to music and draw elaborate doodles.

6PM I don’t really like the word “eccentricity”, but my assistant finds it amusing when I put my credit card in a bowl of water inside the freezer. I do it when I’ve been overspending. In New York I like to shop at Barneys. I wear a lot of Rick Owens – his leather coats and jackets are the best. In London I wander around Selfridges, and I try to get over as much as I can to Gareth Pugh’s studio and to Virginia Bates for vintage. My favourite bookstore is Heywood Hill in Mayfair. My great-aunt Nancy Mitford worked there during the war, and it’s thought that many of her books were influenced by that time.

7.30PM I don’t do schedules, particularly when it comes to food. I eat a lot of sushi. Ikeda is my go-to place in London, but I generally eat at home. I also like comforting British food: roast chicken and soups, and rice pudding for dessert. My indulgences are popcorn and Popsicles. And I drink Patrón tequila – neat.

8PM I don’t go out that often, but going out with my children is always enlightening.

11.30PM When I get home I try to figure out Pro Tools on my computer, or I order something off Amazon. I have a bit of an Amazon problem. And Net-a-Porter is a killer; I go on there late at night when I’m left to my own devices. To relax, I listen to music, meditate, and have the occasional massage. I couldn’t live without music, perfume, and books. I read whenever I have the opportunity. Anna Karenina is my favourite, and I never tire of Nabokov. My favourite movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I love to watch Game of Thrones. I collect books, art, jewellery, vintage music equipment (Telefunken microphones are a weakness), and taxidermied butterflies – I have a wall filled with them. I don’t have any pets. I kept a baby snake in Mexico when I was there for a month some years ago, but nothing since.

12AM My bedtime depends on the day. If I’m working I’ll stay up until 5am, or it could be as early as midnight if I’m not. There are no huge surprises in my bedroom – pictures on the wall, pillows on the bed. I like white bed linens, no patterns. My sheets are from Porthault. I go to sleep the old-fashioned way: lie down and shut my eyes.


Photography: Getty Images