FASHION ICON: DIANA VREELAND


 
This past weekend, I finally saw the film DIANA VREELAND:  THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL.  To be honest, I didn't know much about her other than she was a previous editor-in-chief at Vogue, back when Anna Wintour was still a teenager!  Born in 1903, she actually grew up as an "ugly duckling" and never imagined a career in fashion.  Diana loved to dance and studied with Michel Fokine eventually performing at Carnegie Hall in Ana Pavlova's Gavotte.  

She married in 1924 and lived in NYC for 5 years until moving to London.  There she started operating a lingerie business and often traveled to Paris to buy her clothes from Chanel.  She LOVED everything Paris had to offer - clothes, parties, beautiful people, and culture.




In 1937, she moved back to NYC (for good) and started working at Harper's Bazaar.  She started a column called "Why Don't You..." which quickly became popular.  My personal favorite: "Why don't you paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys' nursery so they won't grow up with a provincial point of view?"  She became the fashion editor and started trends in publishing and fashion that had never been seen before.  She was a trailblazer at HB and stayed there for 25 years.   

Diana was then recruited as editor-in-chief at VOGUE and embraced the 'uniqueness' of the 60's and used the 'youthquake' as inspiration.  Diana on her job as an editor:  "I think part of my success as an editor came from never worrying about a fact, a cause, an atmosphere. It was me - projecting to the public. That was my job. I think I always had a perfectly clear view of what was possible for the public. GIV'EM WHAT THEY NEVER KNEW THEY WANTED."  Diana was a very passionate and demanding person in life and work.  "Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life your living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”



In 1971, Diana was let go from Vogue and began working for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There she completely revamped the program by introducing fashion as 'high-art' and created glamorous exhibitions.  They became popular with celebrities and socialites making it the hottest party in town on opening night.  By 1984, she had presented 12 exhibitions and wrote her autobiography. 



In 1989, Diana Vreeland died of a heart attack at the age of 86 in NYC.  Said best by Marc Jacobs, "To find beauty in imperfection, in flaw, to go against the common popular opinion of what is good, what is right.  That kind of challenging eye, and the ability to find beauty in anything, that was what was so extraordinary about her."



The film is filled with footage from interviews with Diana and celebrity accounts of her life.  Her quotable moments had to be my favorite part - so inspiring, so fresh, so forward!   “Style was a standard. Didn’t hurt anyone… But you gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes.”