The Rich: Having a Marvelous Time

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At Lausanne, she plays hostess to any of her favorite people who happen to be passing through: Truman Capote, Yul Brynner, David Niven, Noel Coward. At Lake Worth, the Guinnesses can usually count on people in the Kennedy orbit, including the fun-loving Kennedys themselves; at one party, held when Jacqueline Kennedy was in Florida recently, Gloria and Mrs. Kennedy had a high old time doing the Twist* on the tile floors by the patio. Says Gloria: "It's a gay, amusing life."

It was not always so. Born in Mexico, Gloria moved to New York when her father, Writer José Rafael Rubio, crossed ideologies with Dictator Porfirio Diaz. In 1933, she was shipped off to Europe, and two years later married Count Franz von Furstenberg. When Hitler came to power, Gloria and her two children, Franz and Delores, fled to Madrid while her husband stayed on in Germany. In Spain, she got a "friendly" divorce that was to help her get exit visas, but the visas never came through, and the count married another woman (and fathered Actress Betsy von Furstenberg). Gloria met Guinness in 1949 on a yachting trip, married him in 1951.

Sudden Vulgarity. Much of her wardrobe is designed by Balenciaga ("He has been dressing me since 1938") and Givenchy. In Paris, she keeps "very elegant, very different" gowns. She wears Chanel suits only in Lausanne, because, she says, so many others wear Chanel suits in Paris and New York. She never wears shorts ("You have to be a girl to wear shorts; nobody but a child looks right in them"). In her early Palm Beach days, in fact, Gloria was torn by a dilemma. A dress was too chic for downtown wear, she decided, and of course shorts wouldn't do. "So I appeared on Worth Avenue in trousers from Capri." Suddenly everybody was wearing Capri pants, and "suddenly they became vulgar. In a way, I am to blame for all that happened."

Her favorite "at home" costume during the day is a comfortable robe; she picks them up for about $12.95 apiece in Manhattan. She buys her underwear in the U.S. "because it is so much better than in Europe. You go into Bonwit Teller and buy a girdle, size small, and you get it home and it fits. It's unbelievable! Incredible! You can't do this in Europe!" It is not so simple with hats, however, which "must be made on your head. A ready-made hat will not be you. While I am sitting for a dress, I sit ten minutes longer, and Balenciaga works on a hat."

Little Diamond Things. Gloria rarely takes any designer's ideas without insisting on changes. She will have Balenciaga take off a button here and there, change the collar, or even have him run up something out of a skirt from this dress, the neckline from that, the sleeves from another.

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