Ladies, I am currently completely obsessing over the one and only, Diana Vreeland. Diana was the style editor and Harper’s Bazaar from 1936-1962 and editor in chief of Vogue from 1963-1971. She was the most glamorous editor that I am aware of; Anna Wintour is a plain and drab woman compared to the colorful Diana. (I am not a fan of Anna.)
My obsession started in the 1990s when I received a book about the most fashionable women in history and Diana was included. I distinctly remember being fascinated by her style, her rows and rows of identical t-strap shoes which were shined after every wearing, (including the bottoms!), the hundreds of bon mots, (“shocking pink is the navy blue of India”) and her complete immersal in eccentricity.
You can see her direct influence on me in the weekly “Why Don’t You” series that post on Saturdays or Sundays. Diana got her start at Harper’s Bazaar by writing a similar article. Of course hers were mostly impractical tongue-in-cheek pieces of advice designed to amuse the magazine’s reader (“Rinse your blond child’s hair in dead champagne to keep its gold as they do in France?”) where as mine are taken directly from my favorite pins of the week and tend to be a bit more practical, though I often post ideas that can be considered more fantastical then pragmatic.
The reason for my old/new obsession with Diana is because I just purchased and watched a new documentary on her called “The Eye Has To Travel”. I rented it for my airplane ride to Mexico and watched it three times in a row! Then I purchased it and I have seriously watched it at least three more times. It is an extraordinary documentary on her life and I highly recommend it. As an aside, they mention a movie entitled, “Who Are You, Polly Maggoo” which has a character based on Ms. Vreeland. If anyone happens to have a copy of it on DVD or knows of a way to download it (I couldn’t find it on iTunes) please let me know. I would love to watch it!
My favorite part of the movie is where those who knew her are interviewed (which is pretty much the entire film). At one point Anjelica Huston is speaking of Diana (Diana “discovered Anjelica and used her quite often in the magazine) and describes Ms. Vreeland’s love of anything beautiful and distaste for the pedestrian. “Pie? Who cares about pie when there is Russia?
“Style is everything. It helps you get up in the morning. It helps you get down the stairs. It is a way of life. Without it you are no one.
And I am not talking about a lot of clothes.”
I admire Diana’s myopic and tenacious quest for style. I take the above quote to heart and do my best to live a stylish and beautiful life. Of course I think I define it a tad differently than Diana. To me being the best wife and mother is part of my “style” and cooking a fantastic meal for my family and friends is just part of the whole gestalt. I am pretty sure Diana never cooked a meal in her life! In the film, Diana’s two sons speak about her and lament how she wasn’t a “normal” mother. Of course as adults they can understand why she was the way she was, but they said it was hard growing up with Diana as their mother. I take a different route to glamour and consider being around for my kids as just one of the many things that creates my unique idiosyncrasy. That doesn’t mean Diana wasn’t fabulous, it just means she defined style in a different way then I do.
For more information on Diana Vreeland I recommend these books:
The Empress Of Fashion (here)
DV by Diana Vreeland (here)
Diana Vreeland: Why Don’t You (here)