Among the most iconic mothers in Palm Beach would be Jacqueline Kennedy, Lilly Pulitzer, and C.Z. Guest. C.Z. had two children, and Slim Aarons’ photo of the socialite with her son Alexander and beloved dogs at the Guest family’s home, Villa Artemis, has almost become synonymous with Palm Beach.
C.Z.’s daughter, Cornelia—pictured here with her mom in a photo every mother and daughter can appreciate—has become a powerhouse in her own right. Dubbed “Deb of the Decade” after making her debut in 1982, a young Cornelia spent the ’80s partying with Warhol at Studio 54; is now an actress in Hollywood; an advocate for animal rights; and has her own catering and events company, where she mixes C.Z.’s classic elegance with a bit of her own edge.
PALMER was able to catch up with Cornelia—who now lives in Dallas—during a recent trip to Palm Beach. Here, she talks PB memories, her debutante days, and remembering her mother.
What brings you to Palm Beach?
I came for a dinner at The Norton Museum. Alexander and my family gave the museum a painting of my grandmother, Amy Phipps Guest. I sadly never met her.
Where are you staying?
The Brazilian Court.
What is your favorite memory of Palm Beach?
I have so many wonderful memories of PB, but my favorite is walking on the beach with my parents and dogs when I was little. I used to love to walk on the reef.
What did your mother like most about Palm Beach?
It was fun and she played lots of tennis.
What’s your favorite memory with your mom in PB?
Shopping at Lilly Pulitzer with my mother—when it was owned by Lilly.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in PB?
I miss all the little mom and pop shops that gave Palm Beach its charm. I was so glad to see that Kassatly’s and Pioneer Linens are still in business after all these years. And I loved seeing the girls at C. Orrico!
What’s your favorite photo of your mom?
My favorite picture is one of my mother and I taken by Bruce Weber. It’s next to my bed. Here are a few others…
Who were your mom’s favorite designers?
She loved Adolfo, Carolina Herrera, and Oscar de la Renta.
What was her favorite fragrance?
You were dubbed “Deb of the Decade” in the 1980s. What designer did you wear to your debut at the Waldorf Astoria in New York?
What are you watching these days?
I just saw Paul Schrader’s Master Gardener. It’s fantastic.
You look great! What do you do to keep in shape?
I walk a lot, I’m always moving and I do pilates 5-6 times a week.
I love Texas! They throw the best dinner parties!
Where are you off to next?
You recently starred as “Jane” in The Shuroo Princess (2021), 9 Bullets (2022), American Horror Stories (2022), Twin Peaks (2017) and other TV and film projects. Who would you like to work with next?
Whit Stillman and Taylor Sheridan.
Like so many other New Yorkers, do you think you could move to Palm Beach full time?
No, I love Dallas, but I’ll be back soon!