Monday, July 27, 2009

Style Icon: C.Z. Guest

Perhaps not as flamboyant as Nan Kempner, C.Z. Guest in nonetheless a great American style icon. The two of them represent two different looks; Nan - the glamorous international jet-setter and C.Z. - the elegant WASP ice princess.

C.Z. Guest was an American socialite and a fashion icon. Her unfussy, clean-cut style was seen as typically American. Often adorned by Mainbocher, Givenchy and Adolfo, she was chosen by the New York Dress Institute as one of the best-dressed women in the world early in the 1950's and remained on the list for years until her elevation to the Fashion Hall of Fame.

''With her pale skin, blue eyes, ash-blond hair and trim figure, she is cut from the same cool, silky cloth as Grace Kelly. It is a patrician beauty that is indigenous to socially registered enclaves like Palm Beach and Southampton, a sporty, outdoorsy look that eschews makeup, hair spray and anything trendy. She has an outspoken, coolly self-assured manner and a throaty, well-modulated voice with a trace of a British accent.'' -Jill Gerston

I have so much love for C.Z.'s look! She perfected the WASP look to such detail that it was an inspiration for many Hollywood stars like Grace Kelly. I recently bought the Privileged Life: Celebrating WASP Style book whose cover C.Z. adorns. Here is an excerpt:

"Leisure is a time for accomplishment - social and athletic. And in the WASP tribe there is an inherited ethic of custom, costume, and code. Leisure time is formal but never fancy; it's a disciplined way of life devoted to a lifestyle that weaves its consistent yet often paradoxical thread throughout every season and sport."

Bellow are some of her most memorable outfits. Make sure you count the dogs!

white sparkly gown with an equally elegant white puddle

quilted, ankle-length dress with cuffed shoulders

floral dress with short-sleeve jacket by Mainbocher's "La Galerie," with pearls

elegant black suit with a juxtaposing Maltese (?)

at her Florida estate in a short and blouse ensemble with two matching white pups

another gorgeous white poolside outfit

heavenly white romper with an equally long-legged dog friend

Tiffany necklace by Jean Schlumberger and a gray flannel dress and a ranch-mink waist length "barrel" jacket, both by Mainbocher

simple white turtleneck really brings out her long neck

long red coat with little white gloves (this is what I wear to walk my dog)

pretty in pale pink with an adorable Yorkie

in her signature white at some fabulous event (loving the turban)

in white again at the Metropolitan gala in 2003 just before her death

A fabulous life.

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