Before Anna Wintour, there was Diana Vreeland. Born in Paris in 1903, Diana Vreeland was originally trained as a dancer, performing in various clubs during the Roaring Twenties. After marrying and leaving Europe for New York, she was discovered by the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow, after Snow noticed Vreeland’s chic style while dancing across a room. Vreeland began her career at Harper’s in 1937 with a regular column called Why Don’t You… and soon became the fashion editor, a position she retained for 25 years before becoming the editor-in-chief of Vogue in 1962. Later, in 1971, she transitioned to a consultant position at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Although she was never college-educated, Diana Vreeland was the center of the fashion world from 1937 until her death in 1989. She created beauty and celebrated people’s oddities and flaws; for example, she glorified Barbra Streisand’s nose when others told her to fix it. Vreeland also had great artistic vision, telling wild and fantastic stories through her editorial spreads. It wasn’t just about showing the clothes; it was also about showcasing people’s lives. As she once said, “A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in that dress.”
The documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is an incredible look at an incredible woman’s life. I made my parents drive me 4 hours to go see this film, and it was more than worth it. If you like fashion, there’s not a better film to see–this look at the ‘Empress of Fashion’ is so intelligent, funny, and inspiring that I cannot recommend it enough.
To find out where it’s playing, click here.
To learn more about Diana Vreeland, click here.