Diana Vreeland


{left: Portrait of Diana Vreeland by George Hoyningen-Huene in the late 1930s; right: Diana Vreeland photographed in Arizona by Louise Dahl-Wolfe}

Sometime in 2001 I saw the Bruce Weber film Chop Suey at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. It was in watching this film that I became acquainted with former fashion editor Diana Vreeland (1903-1989). I remember being entranced by her (and by many other things about the film Chop Suey, but that’s another post).

Fast forward to 2012. Last night my partner and I went to see Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel at the San Francisco Film Festival, a documentary about the life and work of Diana Vreeland.

One of the most amazing parts of the documentary were the copious (and GORGEOUS) images of Harper’s and Vogue covers and spreads from her tenure at each magazine. Vreeland was fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar from 1937-1962. In 1963 she went to work for Vogue Magazine where she stayed until the early 70’s. What was most impressive about Vreeland was her brassy, unapologetic, forward thinking attitude about fashion — and what should appear in the magazine (she had a brilliant, visionary mind). Ultimately, that got her fired from her post as editor (according to the film), since most people could not handle the new content and counter-culture ideas she infused into the publication.

{Diana Vreeland, shot by James Karales in her Vogue office, New York, 1965, at 62.}

I love seeing documentaries and reading books about female creatives. I am not even sure I would have liked Vreeland as a person (she seemed brash and bossy). But I do admire her obsessive commitment to her craft and her clear, focused artistic vision. I also love that she featured prominently in Vogue non-traditional beauties like Barbara Streisand and Lauren Hutton and Cher. Vreeland herself was not a traditional beauty, and yet she had an iconic personal style and magnificent air of self confidence that was stunning.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel has been picked up by a major distributor, so it should be coming to a theater near you soonl. Keep your eyes peeled. If you love fashion and fashion icons, you will like this film.

CATEGORIES: Inspiration