“Never worry about the facts, just project an image to the public” An eccentric style icon and irreverent fashion editor, Diana Vreeland was the twentieth century’s greatest arbiter of style and elegance. As fashion editor at Harpers Bazaar for twenty-five years, Editor in Chief of Vogue and creator and ambassador of fantastic exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, Diana, with her passion for living, her legendary wit and charm energized the world of style and fashion for over fifty years. Not bad for a woman who had no intention of actually working for a living, (“work? What an interesting idea.”)
She built a reputation for allowing photographers, stylists and models to do what they do best, to be creative…
CHRISTOPHER HEMPHILL ON DV’S DIALECT
Although her voice itself almost allows one to see the italics she speaks in, her choice of words is even more arresting than their delivery… For whatever the reasons, now, like a poet, she gives the impression of inventing her own syntax as she goes along. Christopher Hemphill, editor of Allure by Diana Vreeland. Excerpted from his Notes on a Collaboration.
In terms of her personal style, Diana loved simple elegant clothing with splashy accessories. Exotic jewelry, hats and wonderful shoes were among her favorite fashion items. “I’d like to have on the most luxurious cashmere sweater; the most luxurious satin pants, very beautiful stockings, very beautiful shoes—marvelous shoes—and whatever would be suitable around the neck.” .
Diana Vreeland was a visionary in the world of style, elegance and fashion. “People who eat white bread have no dreams.” She was known to say. “Without emotion, there is no beauty” and “What sells is hope”. The stories she told and the tales she spun were nothing less than memorable and she is still quoted today. The American public hung on to every word and on one occasion a brave journalist asked her, “Mrs. Vreeland, is that fact or fiction?” After a small pause she replied, “It’s faction”.
DV ON ELEGANCE
“Then I said something I’ve always known. I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t get it from you, shall we say, and I didn’t make it up, but I’ve known it for all my life. “Elegance”, I said “is refusal.”
Photograph: Paris, 1957
DV ON VULGARITY
“Vulgarity is a very important ingredient in life. I’m a great believer in vulgarity- if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste- it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.” Diana Vreeland – Photograph by Louise Dahl-Wolfe
DV ON LIFE
“Vogue always did stand for people’s lives. I mean, a new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later.”
Diana Vreeland – Photograph by: Munkacsi
DIANA VREELAND ON UPKEEP
”Whatever the fashion, the important thing is time for upkeep. We take it for granted that a girl gets the best she can for herself. But, if she doesn’t keep it up, if it isn’t in beautiful condition, if the shoes aren’t cleaned before she wears them every day and her bag isn’t cleaned and everything in it cleaned, she’ll never look like anything.” Diana Vreeland, The New York Times, 1977