Diana Vreelandf is one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture itself forever.Diana Vreeland led Vogue from 1963 to 1971, but her present-day counterpart Anna Wintour
Diana Vreeland in Elsa Schiaparelli, Harper’s Bazaar, April 1937"I believe you see, in the dream. I think we only live through our dreams and our imagination. That's the only reality we really ever know.” -Diana Vreeland
Diana's signature color was red, but she never found the perfect shade, which was, according to her, "the color of a child's cap in any Renaissance portrait."
THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT DIANA VREELAND:
- The pillows in her home were infused with perfume via hypodermic needles.
- Before becoming a fashion editor, Diana had a lingerie shop in London. Legend has it that Wallis Simpson seduced Edward, then Prince of Wales, while wearing one of Diana's nightgowns. "Mom's store brought down the British Empire," her son Frederick once joked. She often had her own nightgowns tailored, with up to three fittings on a single one.
- She always had her dollar bills and her tissues ironed before putting them in her handbag.
- She ate the same lunch every day: a whole-wheat peanut-butter-and-marmalade sandwich, washed down with scotch.
- She rarely left the house before noon, and she often conducted serious business from her tub.
- The only thing Diana loved more than fashion was reading, and her favorite book was Moby-Dick. "My life has been more influenced by books than by any other one thing," she said.
- Hollywood director Joel Schumacher got his start working with her as a fashion stylist
- She had her custom-made shoes shined for years before she ever started wearing them. And once they entered her rotation, she had the leather and the soles shined every day.
- She approved of jeans but only on the right body: "I think blue jeans are the most beautiful things in the world, and they can be as tight as you can wear them, but only if you look well and have long limbs."
- Paris's Hôtel de Crillon reserved her personal bed linens for her frequent visits.
- Her grandson Nicholas is a Tibetan Buddhist monk (the first Westerner to be made an abbot), while my husband, Alexander, has always worked in fashion.
- She loved surfing though she'd never been on a board.
- Diana's Kabuki-like blush was a signature that not everyone understood. A kindly flight attendant once offered,"Here, honey, let me rub in your rouge for you."
- Her "Why Don't You...?" column was parodied in a 1938 issue of The New Yorker: "If a perfectly strange lady came up to you on the street and demanded, 'Why don't you travel with a little raspberry-colored blanket to throw over yourself...' the chances are that you would...hit her with a bottle."
- She loved flaws Vreeland wasn't into a rarefied untouchable beauty – she wanted to celebrate what made people unique. Barbra Streisand's nose was seen up close and personal on American Vogue, Penelope Tree's alien-like look was championed, so was Twiggy's skinny frame. From John Lennon to Jackie Kennedy, she wanted personality. Her motto could have been "it takes all sorts".
- She invented the fashiion exhibition as we know it after she was fired from Vogue in 1971, Vreeland curated exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although her historical accuracy could be off – she often confused centuries and was the first to admit she was" terrible on facts" – her work banished any academic stuffiness, and drew millions of visitors through the doors. The Met's annual fashion exhibition – now resided over by Vreeland's ex-assistant, Harold Koda – is her legacy.
- She was the Oscar Wilde of fashion "Pink is the navy-blue of India," so said Vreeland – but that's just her most famous quip. This fashion editor was the queen of the one-liners. Others include "I loathe narcissism but I adore vanity" & "the best thing about London is Paris". For more,
- The 60s would be nothing without her Joining Vogue in 1962, Vreeland was a pop-culture magpie and the perfect editor to document the decade unfolding around her. While Vogue in the 50s was for society ladies in white gloves, she put Mick Jagger, Veruschka, Twiggy and Cher in the magazine and had Ali MacGraw as her assistant. The youthquake, as it became known, pulsed through the magazine. Vreeland also had a hand in creating one of the icons of the decade – consulting with Jackie Kennedy on her clothes, and scoring the first pictures of the presidential couple.