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“I’m a little concerned about the fire,” Daphne Guinness said, her layered veils somehow unmolested by the gusts of air ricocheting across the penthouse of the Soho Beach House in Miami on Saturday night. It was exceptionally windy on the veranda, which had been set up for a dinner to celebrate Guinness’ recent collection of cosmetics for MAC. Some of the black cloth napkins had already made a break for it, flying over the side of the building toward Collins Avenue and assorted Miami Art Basel revelers below.
The fire — or, more specifically, fires — were guarded by an inch or so of glass and acted as a centerpiece at each of the three banquet tables outside. Flames occasionally lurched toward guests as they dined, each time resulting in a slight ripple of table-side excitement. Despite the table-side heat, Guinness admitted to not considering herself to be terribly warm. Her Gareth Pugh dress seemed to be more illusion paneling than patent leather strips, though it matched the leather straps that bound the MAC makeup box she had designed.
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This story first appeared in the December 6, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I actually chose it when it was unfinished, and he did it in 20 minutes for me,” she said of the dress. “I wanted him to come to dinner tonight, but he’s at a dinner they’re holding for him somewhere in Miami.” (A Byrdie Bell-hosted bash at Bâoli-Vita Miami, to be precise.) Pugh’s absence notwithstanding, Guinness was joined at dinner by China Chow and Bettina Prentice, who sat near John Demsey and Marilyn Gauthier. As dinner came to a close, black pashminas were offered to combat the chill against bared shoulders. Miles Aldridge spearheaded the fete’s relocation to nearby restaurant and member’s club Casa Tua, where a selection of his photographs happened to be on exhibit, for an impromptu after party. Yigal Azrouël and girlfriend Laura Vidrequin joined Guinness, James Gager and Demsey upstairs at the member’s club, where Naomi Campbell was holding court in a corner.
“Daphne is very, very sweet,” Aldridge explained in the car on the way there. “She’s also a little freakish, but that’s fine to say. I don’t think she’d be happy just being sweet.”
At the after party, Guinness was positioned near the bar, where she was overlooked by an Aldridge photograph of a supine nude breathing a mouthful of smoke.
“Most people think I’m an alien,” she mused. “I mean, I understand it, but they look at me like I’m speaking Chinese.”
She looked around the bar affectionately, where more than a few revelers were clutching the heavy metallic makeup cases from the dinner.
“I don’t believe in family of origin,” she said. “I believe in family of choice. I have some family here.”