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Gloria Guinness (August 27, 1912 – November 9, 1980), born Gloria Rubio y Alatorre, was a Mexican-born socialite and writer who was a contributing editor to Harper's Bazaar from 1963 until 1971. She also was a member of the International Best Dressed List.


Reportedly born in Veracruzmarker, Mexicomarker, 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.


Her first husband was a German-born resident of Mexico named Scholtens, from whom she was divorced.

She married on 4 October 1935, in London, England, as her second husband, Franz-Egon, Count von Fürstenberg-Hedringen (1896-1975); she was his second wife. By him, she had one daughter, Baroness Dolores von Fürstenberg-Hedringen (born 31 July 1936) and a son, Baron Franz-Egon Fürstenberg-Hedringen (born 27 July 1939). 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 Ahmed Fakhri Bey (1921-1988), 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. After her divorce, Gloria Fakhri became involved with both Loel Guinness and David Beatty, 2nd Earl Beatty.

Her fourth husband, whom she married in 1951, 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. The Guinness had homes in Paris, Epalingesmarker near Lausannemarker, New Yorkmarker in the The Waldorf-Astoria Hotelmarker, Normandy near baron Guy de Rothschild, Manalapan, Floridamarker and Acapulcomarker in Mexicomarker.


She was dressed by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Marc Bohan at Christian Dior, Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and shoes by Roger Vivier. But she also favored the Spaniard Antonio Canovas del Castillo del Rey at Lanvin . 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, Horst P. Horst, Slim Aarons and Henry Clarke. Artist like René Bouché, Kenneth Paul Block and Alejo Vidal-Quadras (1919-94) painted her.

She gave dozens of items to the Victoria & Albert Museummarker, including pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), Christian Dior (1905-57), Antonio Canovas del Castillo del Rey (1908-1984) and Hubert de Givenchy (b.1927). Amongst these famous names were several lesser known labels, such as Marcelle Chaumont (b.1892; house closed in 1953). Some items by Balenciaga and Schiaparelli were donated to The Costume Institute 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 Artmarker in New Yorkmarker in 1973.


Gloria Guinness died of a heart attack at her home in Lausannemarker, Switzerlandmarker.

See also

  • Gloria Guinness evening gown from Marcelle Chaumont [48841]


  1. The memoirs of her friend Etti Plesch state that she was born in Guadalajara.
  2. Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: The Dovecote Press, 2007, page 79
  3. Dreamwater Free Web Space: ERROR 404 at
  4. She married her stepbrother Patrick Benjamin Guinness in 1955 and after his early death, later hoped to marry the Aga Khan IV, her late husband's half-brother, according to Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: The Dovecote Press, 2007, page 156
  5. The title of Count von Fürstenberg-Hedringen was inherited by Franz-Egon's younger brother Wenemar (1897-1972) and his descendants, rather his own son by Gloria (Rubio) Scholtens. Because of Franz-Egon's marriage to a divorcée, he was forced from the succession, according to laws of the house of Fürstenberg-Hedringen, as reported in the memoirs of Etti Plesch as well as the Almanac de Gotha.
  6. Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: The Dovecote Press, 2007, page 156
  7. Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: The Dovecote Press, 2007, page 155


  • Thomas L.E.B. Guinness Weds, The New York Times, 18 April 1951.
  • Ballard, Bettina, In My Fashion, David McKay Company Inc, New York, 1960.
  • Donovan, Carrie, Mrs. Guinness: Rare Fashion Leader; Couturiers Are Guided by Her Personal Style Flair Has Plan for Dressing for Four Homes in Varied Locales, The New York Times, 5 december 1961.
  • Bender, Marylin, The Beautiful People, Coward-McCann, Inc, New York, 1967.
  • Bender, Marylin, A Prize for Mrs. Guinness, The New York Times, 2 November 1967.
  • Klemesrud, Judy, They Expected a Snob, They Heard a Comedian, The New York Times, 3 December 1970.
  • Section: Business & Finance, Gloria Guinness, 67, Trend-Setter In Fashion and Hospitality, Dead, The New York Times, 10 November 1980.
  • Jouve, Marie-Andree & Demornex, Jacqueline, Balenciaga, Editions du Regard, Paris, 1988.
  • Join-Dieterle, Catherine, Train, Susan and Lepicard, Marie-Jose, Givenchy - 40 Ans de Creation, Paris, France: Paris-Musees, 1991.
  • Tapert, Annette & Edkins, Diana, The Power of Style - The Women Who Defined The Art of Living Well, Crown Publishers, New York, 1994.
  • Plimpton, George, Truman Capote, In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career, Published by Nan A. Talese (imprint of Doubleday), 1997.
  • Mohrt, Françoise, Le style Givenchy, Editions Assouline, 1998.
  • Vickers, Hugo, The Unexpurgated Beaton: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as He Wrote Them, 1970–1980, Knopf, New York, 2003.
  • Horyn, Cathy, On the Block, Grande Dame Décor, The New York Times, 13 March 2003.
  • Zilkha, Bettina, Ultimate Style - The Best Of The Best Dressed List, Assouline, New York, 2004.
  • Wilcox, Clarie, The Golden Age of Couture - Paris and London 1947-57, V&A Publications, London 2007.

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