daphne guinness

The inimitable Daphne Guinness. Photo: Kevin Tachman

Daphne Guinness is the style icon for the advanced fashionista. Her couture-cool look and signature black and white-striped updo is instantly recognizable by the Vogue crowd. Guinness is not your archetypal 41-year-old mother of three, although the description does technically fit her.

Designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen clamor to dress her, although she claims she often shops at discount stores like Topshop. Doesn't it make you wonder how a woman who looks this sophisticated smells?

Her new eponymous fragrance, "Daphne," on which she collaborated with Comme Des Garçons, belongs in the not-for-newbies category as well. Subtle it is not. At the launch party the waves of the incense, bitter orange, and tuberose notes were almost visible in the air. As she wafted by in her improbably high stilettos, it lingered behind her, causing the chicest guest's head to turn.

daphne perfume

The shape is subtle; the scent is not. Photo: Comme des Garcons

In creating the scent, she said she hoped to invoke memories of people. Her inspiration? "When there were people missing from my life, I would smell their clothes and they would emerge in my head."

So, who exactly is she? Heiress to the Guinness beer fortune, she's a stylist, designer, perfumer, and now, film-maker. Along side the launch of the new scent she made a short film called Mnemosyne (an ancient Greek word for memory). The film is, as she described, "anti-commercial, with no logos." It is dreamy and surreal, and meant to invoke different memories for each viewer. It was filmed almost completely underwater. Check this out to see the behind-the-scenes action.

Only 3,000 bottles of Daphne ($140) worldwide will be made available on September 18th (pre-order by calling 212-604-9200). Find it at Comme des Garcons boutiques, Barneys, Maxfield and Jeffrey.