Diana Vreeland was recently fired from her position as editor at Vogue for suggesting yet another wild idea -- to print an issue backwards so it read like the magazines from Japan! While it might have been challenging to read, it definitely would have followed suit and captured the attention she has been known to draw.
Who better to have as an ICON than Diana Vreeland? If it weren’t for her, we would be missing a lot of flavor in the world of entertainment. You see she was a pioneer in her day using the first black models, kicking off the ‘Youthquake’, putting the first fully nude woman in Vogue (Marissa Berenson at that) and launching the careers of countless designers not to mention creating fashion exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that are still inspiring curators. So who knows, without her vision others may not have followed.
Her ‘Why don’t you’ column at Harpers Bazaar and then editor position at Vogue were mind blowing moments in fashion. She ruled the fashion roost with her quick quips, in depth fashion history knowledge and outrageous thought process not to mention her famous blue-black hair, kabuki inspired makeup and massive statement jewelry. Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King considers Vreeland as “the Dorothy Parker of fashion. She brought wit, intellect and cachet to what can be a frivolous activity but in her hands was magical.”
But one part of her work people don’t give her credit for was her empowering of women. She told women during WWII to work with what they had and add a little pizzazz. In the 60’s she showed Twiggy as not a silly young girl but as someone powerful and worth watching and she made the eccentric the coveted look at Verushka, Penelope Tree and Cher. Hardly conventional beauties but they captured the zeitgeist of their time.
Diana (Dee-ana as she pronounced it) and her dashing husband Reed were great social figures in New York as well. They would entertain everyone from Noel Coward to Truman Capote and Jack Nicholson in their Park Avenue apartment swathed in red, which Vreeland used to call her ‘Garden in Hell.’ Set designer Anne Koch has a great fondness of DV’s interior esthetic, “More is more! Ms. Vreeland created her own interior dreamscapes, we would have been great friends I suspect.”
She was also a friend to everyone from Josephine Baker to Chanel and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. But don’t think she was all high society, Joey Ramone was so excited by her he wore leopard bracelets in her honor (she had her office at Vogue carpeted in leopard).
Luckily for us she is back in the fashion fold this month with the recently published book, The Eye Has to Travel, compiled by her grandson's wife, Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Lisa also has produced a movie about DV making the rounds at the film festivals. We are painfully waiting to see the full flick but will be content with the preview provided to a private audience. (The YouTube link has since been made private, so you'll have to wait a little longer if you didn't already catch it.)
We thank Ms. Vreeland for being so forward thinking, for supporting new talent and for simply being totally bonkers. We need more editors like that in the world.