With her best-of-breed blonde beauty and debutante goes wild (to a point) past, C. Z. Guest was Daisy Buchanan without the dark side. In later years we knew her as a best-selling garden guru and author, but like Grace Kelly she was born to the life Ralph Lauren creates for the rest of us.
A socialite wouldn’t be sexy without a bit of rebellion. C. Z.posed nude for Diego Rivera. (Her husband’s family bought the painting to absorb the shock. ) Like Gloria Vanderbilt, she had a short,showy fling with Hollywood, hoping “to be just successful enough as an actress to get thrown out of the social register”. It was not to be.
A new book, C. Z,Guest, American Style Icon, by Susanna Salk, chronicles the visually stunning life of this classic American beauty, her Long Island home ,Templeton. (Can a name be any more Wasp-ish? ) and her gardens. Like Babe Paley and chic surviviour Gloria Vanderbilt, Guest had a personal flair that was uniquely her own. From the simple clean Mainbocher clothes to the surprise of leopard-pattern carpet underfoot at home, she did glamour in a comfortable, born with it, American way. Ralph wouldn’t be Ralph if C. Z. hadn’t done it first.