04/28/2011 07:29 am ET | Updated Jun 28, 2011

Daphne Guinness On Her Window Dressing Stunt: 'I'm Not Dita Von Teese, Nor Shall I Be'

Daphne Guinness spoke to Cathy Horyn about her upcoming sartorial stunt -- getting dressed for the Costume Institute Gala in the windows at Barneys New York.

I went for a meeting with Dennis Freedman, the new creative director of Barneys, and to my considerable astonishment found myself agreeing to his exciting but giddying proposition to hand over the windows of Barneys for a six-week run starting May 2 to showcase pieces from my own collection that have special resonance for me (Daphne Guinness: Nothing for Sale?!). What was I thinking? As the crowning moment of the installation, I will be getting dressed and readied for the Costume Institute Gala in the windows--me as performance art! I am hoping that my costume (McQueen, of course) will fit.

I will also show a vignette of Isabella's own extraordinary pieces, reflections of her oh-so-Romanesque life, with the priceless help of Philip Treacy and some of Isabella's dearest friends and collaborators. I feel this fits with the zeitgeist of what is happening in New York in early May. Isabella certainly would have wanted to celebrate Alexander at the Met. And similarly, Alexander would have been mortified by her absence from it. So it feels like the right thing to do. The rapid pace with which this has all happened has made me question my sanity, as I am currently knee-deep in life and other projects, but you might as well be hung for a sheep than a lamb! Why not add on another layer?

So what exactly does this "layer" entail? Don't expect a peep show. Guinness told the New York Times, “I am not doing a burlesque — no way. I’m going to be getting dressed behind something. I’m not Dita Von Teese, nor shall I be.” you think she, like, hangs out with Dita? Anyway, Daphne added, “My feeling is that this is another piece of evidence that, yes, there is a commercial side to fashion that is needed, but there are these crossover moments that do become art. I hope it works, and I don’t faint.”