ACTING A PART: Daphne Guinness, socialite and muse to the late Lee Alexander McQueen, can add another job description to her résumé: performance artist. Guinness on Monday presented a staged piece that included getting dressed in one of Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue windows in her gown for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala that evening. The beige feather-covered dress was designed by McQueen, who was being celebrated at the gala.
Dennis Freedman, Barneys’ creative director, originally had a window concept that would have shown the personal closets of various women. “Then we met with Daphne and she explained that she acquired the clothing collection of [the late] Isabella Blow,” Freedman said. He suggested displaying some of the clothes in a window. “We arrived at the idea that Daphne would get dressed in the window,” he said. “It was conceived as a piece of theater just as McQueen was a theatrical master of his shows.”
“I thought, Lee will be at the Met, Izzy had got to be somewhere,” said Guinness, referring to her friends McQueen and Blow by their nicknames. Barney’s windows feature 26 complete looks from Guinness’ archives, 10 of which were created by McQueen and others by Balmain, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Hauliuetrige, Gareth Pugh and Rick Owens. Blow’s signature hats by Philip Treacy can be seen in the windows along with ensembles by McQueen, John Galliano and Viktor & Rolf. Dressed in a gold bodysuit, her face and head wrapped in sheer scarves, Guinness slithered across the window. “To be covered expresses part of her grief,” Freedman said.
Talking between deep cleansing breaths, she admitted she was “nervous. I’m very shy.” Simon Doonan, Barneys’ ambassador at large, called the event “voyeurism and exhibitionism at the same time.”
If Guinness could see out the window, she would have found strength in numbers. Barneys invited students of the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons The New School for Design to create looks inspired by Guinness, Blow or McQueen. One FIT student wore a dress made entirely of feathers and had a paper butterfly covering one eye. Another wore a hat to make Treacy proud, with bent twigs covered with flowers and white netting.
Guinness’ appearance in the window was projected on the facade of the store while being live-streamed on Barneys New York’s luxury content site, The Window.
CHARNEY’S PAYCHECK: Dov Charney, chairman and chief executive officer of American Apparel Inc., saw his compensation fall to $764,423 last year from $1.9 million in 2009. Charney’s salary, which made up all of his compensation, did rise by $14,423 last year, but his 2009 bonus of $1.1 million was not repeated. Despite the decline in take-home pay, Charney has been working hard, pumping more of his own money into the business and recently securing new investors, who saved the firm from a cash crunch.
MARRAKESH EXPRESS: On Sunday night, Vera Wang offered quiet a tribute to Yves Saint Laurent by hosting a special screening of “L’amour Fou,” the new YSL documentary, at the Museum of Modern Art. Martha Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan, Kelly Klein, Kelly Rutherford, Katie Lee, Gina Gershon and Philip Treacy joined its director, Pierre Thoretton, at MOMA. “I have seen the movie three times already,” Wang said. “I love these lampadaires and I wish I had bought them when I was in Paris. People always told me they are Saint Laurent’s but I didn’t believe them. But then I saw them in the movie and now I have to find them.”
Post-movie, the crowd, including Prabal Gurung, Yigal Azrouël, Erin Fetherston, Tara Subkoff and Margherita Missoni flocked over to Wang’s Park Avenue apartment, which had been transformed into a Morrocan den courtesy of Bronson Van Wyck’s Moorish decor and Todd English’s buffet spread with couscous, lamb and other specialties from the region. “I was told it was going to be an informal dinner,” Wang sighed. “But then I thought, what are these 70 people doing here setting up?”
BLUE BOY?: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has finally broken her silence about pregnancy rumors, but was oblique when addressing reports in Closer magazine that she is expecting. “My lips are sealed to protect something, and to protect his work,” she said, referring to her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in an interview published on Monday in French daily Le Parisien. Likewise, the Elysée Palace does not confirm or deny that the French Presidential couple is expecting a baby. Le Parisien also released a short video of the interview on its Web site, where Bruni can be seen clutching at a blue scarf in front of her belly.
EAU DE ALEXANDER WANG?: Is Alexander Wang venturing into the scent market? Market speculation is swirling that the young designer has tapped Barcelona-based fragrance and fashion firm Puig to launch his debut fragrance. Puig executives declined to comment Monday. Adding the hipster designer to its fragrance roster would be a coup for the Spanish company that currently produces fragrances under license for prestige players like Prada, Valentino, Comme des Garçons and Payot.
P.R. SHUFFLE: Cédric Edon has been named Givenchy’s new international press manager. Previously, Edon headed press and communications at Maison Martin Margiela and also worked at Karla Otto in Paris. At Givenchy, he reports to Caroline Deroche-Pasquier, international public relations and press director, and succeeds Carla Wachtveitl, who is heading to Chanel in Paris to handle press for the Asian market.