I turned to my wife after the last of the credits for the documentary, “Diana Vreeland The Eye Has To Travel”, rolled down the screen and said, “We should buy the DVD!” Anyone interested in fashion, photography, or popular culture will be enthralled by the film, lovingly directed by Diana’s granddaughter-in-law, Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Amazingly, Vreeland, who felt so ugly, and was often told so by her mother, created the modern fashion editor, dictating what stylish and modern women should wear.
The image above shows Diana in her Billy Baldwin designed
apartment in 1979. New York
“Red is the great clarifier - bright, cleansing, revealing. It makes all colors beautiful. I can’t imagine being bored with it – it would be like becoming tired of the person you love. I wanted this apartment to be a garden – but it had to be a garden in hell.”
She worked at Harper’s Bazaar for 26 years, championing American design and the rise of great fashion photographers such as Richard Avedon. The 1941 cover for Harper’s was quite daring for the day! Her life was infused with Style. “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. Give’em what they never knew they wanted.”
Diana Vreeland, model Dovima and Richard Avedon, for a 1955 Harper’s Bazaar fashion shoot. Avedon said “She was and remains the only genius fashion editor.”
She became Vogue’s editor-in-chief in 1963. Billy King shot Diana in her Vogue office in 1968 with her ever-present cigarette. It was her habit to not leave her apartment before noon and often conducted business in her bathtub.
She wanted to be around the exciting and famous people of her day. Boring and bland were never in her lexicon. The photograph above depicts the celebrity buzz of Studio 54 in 1978, with a very young Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol.
“You know the greatest thing is passion, without it what have you got? I mean if you love someone you can love them as much as you love them but if it isn’t a passion, it isn’t burning, it isn’t on fire, you haven’t lived!”
Billy King took this iconic photograph for a 1977 Blackglama ad.
A picture of Yves Saint Laurent and Diana Vreeland in 1982. His quote says it all: “Mrs. Vreeland was one of the most exceptional people I have met in all my life. Her force of character, her glamour, her intelligence, her innate sense of elegance and her exuberance energized all those who meet her.”
She once said, “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.” She didn’t have too many regrets in her extraordinary life but wished she had learned how to surf! What an amazing lady!
***Check out the YouTube video about the documentary: