Daphne Guinness At Amoeba, Wednesday September 5th 2018
When you hear Guinness, you probably think about a good glass beer, but this should change because there is Daphne Guinness, fashion designer, model, collector, performer, actor, socialite, photographers muse, a queen of the arts and fashion with an impressive resume, who is nevertheless having a music career.
Of course, Daphne is directly related to the famous beer empire as the heiress to the Irish brewery founder Arthur Guinness, but she is UK royalty for several reasons. She has been involved in the fashion business for a long time, she has worked with the greatest names, from Karl Lagerfeld to Tom Ford or her friend the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. As for the music, Daphne doesn’t do less than the master himself, Tony Visconti, who produced her two albums, ‘Optimist in Black’, in 2016, and ‘Daphne and the Golden Chord’, just released this year.
Everything you read about Daphne’s life sounds and looks like pure bright glam, her sister Catherine has been Andy Warhol’s personal assistant, she grew up vacationing in an 18th-century monastery in Catalonia, where her neighbors were Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, she married Spyros Niarchos, the son of Stavros Niarchos, Onassis’ rival multi and millionaire Greek tycoon, and she has been romantically involved with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy… What a luxury life, you are gonna say! Nevertheless Daphne Guinness seemed very happy and honored to sing on the modest stage of Amoeba, the ‘greatest music store in the world’ as her band said.
With such a life path, a production by Tony Visconti comes barely as a surprise, her entire life sounds like a superproduction, but the story of their collaboration is even more surprising: David Bowie himself asked Daphne Guinness to interview him about his costumes for the 2013 David Bowie Is… exhibition at the V&A, and he recommended her to his long-time producer… which led to the recording of her first album.
Daphne Guinness appeared on stage looking like a Vogue cover, tall and thin, her platinum hair held back very tightly into a surprising roll structure, while everything about her looked like a modern-art sculpture, her futuristic heelless platform shoes included! With a deep Nico-like voice, she performed a few songs of her last album (beside an older one from her previous one) an album which has been described as kaleidoscopic, effervescent, fabulously twisted… I especially agree with the last part, as everything about her sounded absolutely fabulous. Her first song ‘Riot’ had even a real Ziggy Stardust vibe, while other ones had these authentic British pop-rock hooks, delivered with gravitas and a real class. The tunes eventually turned a bit cabaret and baroque at times, with a boogie-boogie on keyboard, while she has unsurprisingly admitted a teenage passion for The Doors, The Kinks, Bowie, The Beatles and Marc Bolan when she was a teenager. ‘It hit me hard,’ she has said about the famous singer’s death, ‘When he died I wanted to die as well, and it caused what I now realize was a nervous breakdown.’
While Daphne Guinness looked like a piece of rock fashion history walking in front of us, her love for the glam rock scene was all over her set,… and you could ask yourself, why would a style icon want to take the chance to become a music icon? Why would she want to add another title to her already incredible CV? The most surprising part of her set at Amoeba is that she looked a bit nervous, intimidated and even humble, and this is certainly the sign of a genuine icon
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Déjà vu Guru