My friend, Susanna Salk’s sumptuous new Rizzoli book, C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon, is a beautiful and enlightening glimpse into Guest and her world, paying homage to her enduring style and multi-faceted life. Salk reveals Guest for the true maverick she was — trend-setter, horsewoman, fashion designer, businesswoman, actress, author, and columnist (her gardening column for the New York Post helped to promote a whole gardening-as-lifestyle industry!). And let’s not forget Guest as the renowned socialite—but not the vapid sort that one thinks of when one hears the word. No, she was very much more interested in character than social climbing. Guest tells us, “My ambition was to be a successful enough actress to get myself thrown out of the Social Register: I had no talent at all but I enjoyed every minute of my experience.” It’s exactly this rare combination of brazen irreverence, candor, and jois de vivre that makes Guest so fascinating. And it is, after all, Salk to be thanked for so adeptly and lovingly weaving words like these into a truly comprehensive treatment of her subject.
I’ve had the great fortune to have lunched with C.Z. Guest at Templeton on quite a few occasions—lunch was always an uncomplicated affair, perhaps a cheese souffle and salad on Dodie Thayer plates. Of course there was always a great deal of wine, and Guest, true to expectations, would captivate us with her tales of superstars, royalty, and mobsters alike—and it seemed like there was not as wide a divide between these various social strata as one might imagine! My time at Templeton remains among my most cherished memories, and I’m happy to say Salk’s book captures Guest and her surrounds perfectly.
For those of you looking to know more about Guest, Salk’s book has many never before published photos of C. Z. Guest, as well as musings by a great host of style icons and tastemakers. It’s an intimate look into Guest’s remarkable life, and a must-have for your library. We’re sure it will provide inspiration for you in any of your grand endeavors! Pick up a copy here: C.Z. Guest: American Style Icon