A Day in the Life of Cornelia Guest
by jill sieracki
photography by sari goodfriend
Cornelia Guest is known as much for her storied past as she is for her family’s palatial Old Westbury home, Templeton. However, today the former “Deb of the Decade” is turning her passions into purpose. This month, the Spring collection of her cruelty-free luxury handbags arrives in Bloomingdale’s; she is also contributing to PETA’s annual coat drive, which collects fur and leather goods for the homeless. “I think fur is much better where God and Mother Nature intended,” says Guest, who modeled for PETA’s “Dare to Go Bare” advertising campaign and is on the board of the Humane Society of New York. “Ever since I was little I’ve loved animals. I did the campaign because I knew it would get attention and hopefully get people to understand what they are wearing.”
In May, she’s releasing a new book, Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining, a beautiful entertaining guide that caters to the vegan lifestyle. The tome is a perfect companion to her catering company, which has served epicurean dishes with fresh, locally grown ingredients to such distinguished clients as Jo Malone, Donna Karan, and MAC Cosmetics. Says Guest, “I’m not a didactic person, but I want to give people an intelligent alternative.”
During the week, I get up around six o’clock. Then I take my little dog, Olive, for a walk through the park to Pilates with Alexandra Farney at seven. Then I exercise for an hour with Anna Kaiser at AKT InMotion.
Have a brief meeting with my team to review the upcoming schedule for my catering company, Cornelia Guest Events. We do every sort of food, but I try to use organic, locally grown, sustainable ingredients as often as possible. Right now I’m particularly excited for winter squashes in pastas, soups, or stuffed with grains.
Catch up with Diane Reverand, the collaborator on my new book, Simple Pleasures. It’s a seasonal lifestyle book with lots of delicious vegan recipes. My friend Bruce Weber shot the cover with all my animals. I prefer to write longhand in notebooks, so I’ll sit anywhere and write.
Meet my collaborator Kari Breglia to look at some samples for my spring handbag line, which is completely cruelty free. The first season sold out at Bloomingdale’s, where my line is exclusively sold. For spring Bloomingdale’s will be carrying the line in four additional stores, so we’re going to be in seven locations. It’s so exciting to watch the collection grow and to see people’s reaction to something that is beautiful and created humanely. I’m looking to expand into shoes and fake furs next.
Head to Badgley Mischka for a dress fitting. Mark and James are very great friends of mine; I’ve known them since I was a teenager. We go to lunch every Saturday either at Cipollini, the Basil Leaf Cafe, or Bar Frites, on Long Island, and afterward we always take a walk through the woods.
Dash over to Bloomingdale’s for an appearance to support my handbag collection. I love high heels and am always switching my flats for heels, so I need a big day bag to carry it all. I also make a pretty little clutch with a mirror for lipstick touch-ups, so I check my day bag and just carry the clutch to the party.
Gather with friends at The Crown for dinner. I love chef John DeLucie. Being a vegetarian or vegan, it’s quite easy for chefs to accommodate if you just ask. John’s always happy to make me something delicious, particularly the wild mushroom salad with quinoa.
Come home and take it easy. My days are so packed that I’ve really learned the power of resting. I’m happy to be in bed at 9 PM, reading a good book. I think we should start a club where everyone meets for a conference call at seven and we can all be in our beds, eating our dinner, and just be on the phone with each other. It’s a pretty good idea, isn’t it?
makeup by Trevor Bowden for Dior Beauty at BA-REPS.com; hair by Nakia Ray (opener)