This was the woman who designed a line of cashmere sweaters (“I will only sell what I like to wear”) and formulated an insect repellent spray for the green-fingered. Her coming-out party at 17 saw her peers dance the night away in a ballroom decked out like the streets of Paris, but she was just as chipper pruning her zinnias. C. Z. was a polite enigma with a personal life (her 1947 wedding to Winston Frederick Churchill Guest was held at best man Ernest Hemingway’s Cuban home) that preceded her, but the self-awareness to know her good fortune. “I never made any films,” the one-time aspiring actor once said of never hitting the big time. “I went out to parties with Victor Mature, Bruce Cabot, and Errol Flynn. I played tennis every day and I loved every minute of it.”

CZ before her stage debut in Ziegfeld Follies.Photo: Getty Images

If her restrained brand of polished, outdoorsy chic—she lived in no-frills American designers Mainbocher and Adolfo with a peppering of Givenchy—gave her an air of practicality, the delicious snippets about her personal life (Guest once posed nude for Diego Rivera in Mexico) put her on a pedestal again. For every image of her in jodhpurs riding her beloved horses, there was a curated, color-saturated photograph by Slim Aarons, to whom she became a muse. (See also: Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.)