Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

One of my Christmas presents was the book Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, by Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Reading it, I can finally begin to understand why Diana is considered to have invented the term “fashion editor” and that, in fact, “noone has equalled her – not nearly. And the form has died with her.” (Richard Avedon)

As fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar (1936-1962) and editor-in-chief at Vogue (1962-1971), she never reported on fashion: the designers had to follow her, the photographers were there for her. She gave the public what they never knew they wanted, and she contributed more than anyone else “to the level of taste of American women in the sense of the way they move, what they wear, how they think”, according to Truman Capote, and I think this is the truth. Then, at her arrival at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1989), she radically transformed museology, continuing to play a pivotal role in the realm of creativity worldwide.

This is a beautiful book that honours the high priestess of fashion, the woman who celebrated originality, beauty and imagination all her life and that tells her life through the work she created throughout her career. It’s not text-heavy, in turn, it’s packed with Diana’s fashion editorials and words that speak for themselves. The magazine spreads it contains, lensed by some of the greatest fashion photographers, are exquisite, of an incredible aesthetic (impossible to attain today; you should see the accessories and jewellery shots – what creativity!) and complexity (a combination of culture, art, vibrant fashion), each one different from the other, but all brought together by Diana’s diligent eye and passion. I love the fact that I can read the accompanying text and immerse myself into the pages of vintage Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue: I’ve never had the chance to have such in detail access to the older pages of these publications. They have your eye travel and show fashion as it was being invented. It’s been a long time since I was so aware of the meaning of the word unique: Diana Vreeland was unique, a word she herself sparingly used.

I wish you a wonderful week!

photos: by me
source: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

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