Clutches of Death Be Damned! Diana Vreeland Is Making a Comeback
Aug 16, 2011 - by Lester Brathwaite
The late Diana Vreeland, one of the most fabulous ladies of the 20th -- or really any -- century will come roaring back to life thanks to a new documentary and accompanying coffee-table book this fall.
Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Diana's granddaughter-in-law, directed the film Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, debuting at the Venice Film Festival September 3rd, as well as wrote the similarly-titled coffee-table book, which hits bookstores October 1st.
Featuring contributions from everyone and their mother, including Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Hubert de Givenchy, Diane von Furstenberg, Richard Avedon, Anjelica Huston and Ali McGraw*, the film is Immordino Vreeland's first:"As soon as I started research for the book, I said to myself, I should be working on a documentary.'
While Immordino Vreeland never actually met her grandmother-in-law, she felt "people needed to know what [her] life was about" and set out over the course of three years to tell Vreeland's story. And tis quite a story:
She helped designers such as von Furstenberg, Manolo Blahnik and the Missonis launch their businesses. When the Missonis, who were working in Italy, came to New York to show their clothes, Vreeland called all the stores. She was responsible for their business in America, said Immordino Vreeland. She suggested to Blahnik, who was working on theatrical set designs, that he should be working on extremities.
The Eye Has to Travel traces Vreeland's childhood in Europe (The first thing to do is arrange to be born in Paris. After that, everything follows quite naturally.), her relationship with husband Reed (I never felt comfortable about my looks until I met Reed Vreeland.It was love at first sight. Nothing could spoil my happiness. Reed made me feel beautiful.) and to her tenure as fashion editor for Harper's Bazaar from 1937 to 1962, editor-in-chief of Vogue (1962-1971) before being fired and eventually her role as a special consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute from 1972 til her death in 1989, where her widely successful exhibits served as a precursor to the phenomenon that was Savage Beauty.
Diana Vreeland's contributions to fashion are innumerable; she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Kennedy and discovered Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall: She came smiling into my office with a wide Russian face. Betty couldnt take a bad picture. After I put her on the cover, she got a call from Hollywood.
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is a must-see and must-read about someone that's responsible for the way we view and interact with fashion today. Also, she gave the world André Leon Talley (her assistant at the Met), for which she should easily be a candidate for sainthood. [WWD]
*Ali McGraw not as random a choice as you might think, by the bye, that is if you even know/care who she is:
Ali MacGraw is interviewed in the film about her experience working as an assistant to Vreeland after graduating from Wellesley College, and how demanding a boss she was. Shed start barking orders, Get me a pencil! and gave her assistants a very hard time, and they always cried during the day, recalled MacGraw, who described one incident where Vreeland chucked a coat at her, so MacGraw instinctively chucked it back. Diana was pretty annoyed, she said.
I'm in love.