The Rich: Having a Marvelous Time

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When the New York Couture Group's stable of fashion "experts" named Jacqueline Kennedy No. 1 among the world's best-dressed women, there was little surprise: they like publicity; Jackie is news. She spends a lot on clothing and obviously has style. No. 2 was a name far less familiar—Mrs. Loel Guinness.

As any reader of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar can testify, Mrs. Guinness should be better known. She has a lean figure, the profile of a latter-day Nefertiti, and hair like black velvet. At 47, Gloria Rubio von Furstenberg Guinness is a classic example of a woman who knows what money can do—and does it with grace. Her husband is related to the famed Guinness brewing clan and is a multimillionaire (banking, airplanes, etc.). They scorn café society's more redolent haunts; they are just rich people who maintain a bejeweled private life, do nothing deliberately to attract publicity.

The Guinnesses have an apartment in Manhattan's expensive Waldorf Towers, a villa in Lausanne (with a bowling alley in the basement), a 350-ton yacht that plies the summer Mediterranean, a seven-story house on Paris' Avenue Matignon ("My husband is a perfectionist, and so he would rather build a building than live in an apartment"), a stud farm in Normandy, and a mansion near Palm Beach at Lake Worth, Fla. 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 keep 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.

All These Homes. Does this multiplicity of havens mean constant anxiety, brought on by decisions, decisions, decisions? Not for Gloria Guinness. "In a way," says she, "it is a very bourgeois little life we lead. So many people think it is difficult keeping all these homes, but I believe it is easier to keep five than one. You can't possibly spend twelve months at any one place."

Since the Guinnesses keep moving from one house to another through the year, they found that packing and unpacking could become quite a chore. Loel Guinness hates luggage anyway, so the two keep complete wardrobes at the ready in each of their homes. Thus they need travel with nothing more than the clothing on their backs ("You don't have to waste time in customs, and you don't have to declare anything. It's wonderful!") and, of course, their constant retinue—two chefs, kitchen maid, personal maid, valet and three chambermaids—who can lug any last-minute packages.

The skeleton staff is a necessity, since the Guinnesses would much rather entertain than be entertained. "I give many more dinners in Paris than in the States," says Gloria. "All the lonely boys come to see us. Actors, writers, scientists, professors, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, members of Parliament, Art Buchwald. It is exciting! When anybody comes to town they call up and we ask them to dinner. It is delightful, and so much more fun than the planned formal party."

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