Gloria Guinness (August 27, 1912 – November 9, 1980), born Gloria Rubio y Alatorre, was a Mexican-born socialite and fashion icon of the 20th century, and a contributing editor to Harper's Bazaar from 1963 until 1971. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1964.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she was a daughter of José Rafael Rubio, a Mexican journalist, and his wife, Dolores Alatorre. As a young woman, she was employed as a nightclub hostess before moving to Germany.
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Her first husband was a German-born resident of Mexico named Scholtens, from whom she was divorced.
She married a second time on 4 October 1935, in Kensington, London, England, to Franz-Egon Maria Meinhard Engelbert Pius Aloysius Kaspar Ferdinand Dietrich, 3rd Graf von Fürstenberg-Herdringen (1896–1975); she was his second wife. By him, she had two children.
She also had a stepdaughter from her husband's first marriage, the actress Betsy von Furstenberg. According to her friend Etti Plesch, Gloria Rubio Scholtens was introduced to Fürstenberg by her mentor, newspaper heir, diplomat, and art collector Friedrich Horstmann, who reportedly "dressed her up and presented her at a dinner as a mysterious aristocrat."
Her third husband was Prince Ahmad-Abu-El-Fotouh Fakhry Bey (1921–1998) who she married in 1942. He was a grandson of King Fuad I of Egypt and a nephew of Princess Fawzia of Egypt (the first wife of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran) and King Farouk I of Egypt. During her marriage to Fakhri, she also was a mistress of the British ambassador to France, Duff Cooper. At same time Cooper were involved with Princesse Ghislaine de Polignac (1918-2011) and Louise de Vilmorin
After her divorce in 1949, Gloria Fakhri became involved with both Loel Guinness and David Beatty, 2nd Earl Beatty.
Her fourth husband, whom she married on 7 April 1951 in Antibes, was Group Capt. Thomas Loel Guinness, a Member of Parliament (1906–1988) and a member of the extended Guinness beer family, though his particular branch made its fortune in banking and real estate. Of him, she told Noel Coward, "I could never sleep with Loel. He farts too much."
There is also a long-standing rumor that Gloria Guinness was employed at some point as a spy and that when she married her fourth husband, she had no valid passport and was legally a citizen of no country. This rumor is to a certain degree borne out by her appearance in a series of supposedly nonfiction books written by Aline, Countess of Romanones, who knew her during WWII and was a friend, fellow spy (originally on opposite sides - the Countess was still an American citizen during the war, and an employee of the OSS), and sometime adversary of Gloria, who was by this point an almost legendary character, the glamorous "Countess von Fürstenberg" who maintained friendships with important Nazis, including Goering and even Hitler himself, and lived in neutral Madrid throughout the latter days of the Second World War as an espionage agent for the Axis.
Six homes around the world
The Guinnesses had an apartment in Manhattan's expensive Waldorf Towers, an 18-century farmhouse called Villa Zanroc in Epalinges near Lausanne (with a bowling alley in the basement), a 350-ton yacht that plied the Mediterranean in the summer, a seven-storey house on Avenue Matignon in Paris, decorated by Georges Geffroy (1903–1971), a stud farm in Normandy: Haras de Piencourt near Guy de Rothschild, a mansion near Palm Beach at Lake Worth, Florida. The Florida property is divided by U.S. Highway A1A, faces the lake on one side and the beach on the other; the two halves are connected by a specially built tunnel under the highway that Mrs. Guinness has had decorated with furniture and screens painted by a young French artist she is interested in. They also had a house in Acapulco, Mexico. She commissioned the Mexican architect Marco Antonio Aldaco to design the house in Acapulco.
They also kept three planes—an Avro Commander for short hauls around Europe, a small jet, a helicopter for Loel Guinness' hops between the Lake Worth house and the Palm Beach golf course.
She was dressed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Marc Bohan at Christian Dior, Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Valentino Garavani, Halston and shoes by Roger Vivier. But she also favored the Spaniard Antonio Canovas del Castillo del Rey at Lanvin (clothing). She was one of the first persons to wear the capri pants by Emilio Pucci. She was photographed for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Woman's Wear Daily by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, John Rawlings, Horst P. Horst, Slim Aarons and Henry Clarke. Artist like René Bouché, Kenneth Paul Block and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (1919–94) painted her. She appeared on the International Best Dressed List in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963. The year after she was elevated into its Hall of Fame.
She gave an enormous number of items to Victoria & Albert Museum from Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, André Courrèges, Antonio Canovas del Castillo del Rey at Lanvin (clothing), Hubert de Givenchy, Hellstern and Jeanne Lafaurie, proving that she spread her commissions amongst many different couturiers.
Among the 17 outfits, 12 hats and pairs of shoes that she donated were a 1948 Balenciaga evening gown of organdie with flock flowers and evening gown from 1965, a 1949 hand-painted evening gown by Marcelle Chaumont (b.1892; house closed in 1953, and a 1950s evening gown by Jeanne Lafaurie, the only dress by that designer in the collection of Victoria & Albert Museum.
Some items by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli were donated to The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Guinness wrote frequently for Harper's Bazaar, most famously asserting, in the magazine's July 1963 issue: "Elegance is in the brain as well as the body and in the soul. Jesus Christ is the only example we have of any one human having possessed all three at the same time." She also wrote an appreciation to the catalogue The World of Balenciaga held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1973.
Gloria Guinness died of a heart attack at her home, Villa Zanroc in Epalinges, Switzerland at the age of 68.