True style icons are few and far between but C.Z. Guest ranks at the top of American qualifiers. More than merely beautiful and stylish she was a gardener, mother, socialite, columnist, horsewoman, taste-maker. Her clean-cut, unfussy style was typically American. A sporty, outdoorsy attitude to clothes when tennis gear, sailing gear and riding clothes were the natural go to choice for the Hollywood stars of the early 1940’s. She was the photographer Slim Aarons’ muse and a member of Truman Capote’s glittery Swan set. A true Grande Dame, she epitomised the WASP style. Of her many photographs pool-side and wearing pearls, pastels and Chanel, a favourite is of her wearing white shorts and a white cardigan jacket that remind me exactly of our own white Cotton Twill Shorts, £69 and Cotton Chevron Knit Jacket,
£79 NOW £59. She was named best-dressed so often that the New York Dress Institute elevated her to its hall of fame. She shopped in Paris, at Mainbocher – a master of simplicity, and later at the flounce-less Givenchy. She encouraged the careers of US designers, including de la Renta who recalled her at a grand party in a cashmere sweater over a long satin skirt, he had never seen anybody dress like that. With her easy clothes, blue eyes and that blonde hair, she defined an American style of which Grace Kelly was just the movie adaptation.
By Vanessa de Lisle - www.thefashioncupboard.com