Diana Vreeland in an illuminating documentary
Call it instinct, call it intuition, or some innate talent for defining beauty and style. Or just call it Vreeland.
Diana Vreeland, the fashion editor, society icon, and cultural arbiter, embodied confidence and cool. Her visionary approach to editing - Vreeland had her hands on the pages, and page design, at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue for five decades, beginning in the late 1930s - changed the course of both magazines, and inspired their readers. Readers who could afford the clothes and shoes and jewels, and the many, many more who could only dream.
Bringing dreams to life was what she was about.
Vreeland, who died in 1989 at 86, comes alive herself in the wonderfully illuminating documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel. With a lengthy interview session with her friend George Plimpton as the film's narrative spine, Vreeland emerges not only as a woman who embraced couture and culture, but also as someone whose philosophy was built on independent thinking and a recognition of the transformative power of beauty and art.
Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (a granddaughter-in-law), Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel also boasts interviews with designers (Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta), models (Veruschka, Polly Tree) and photographers (Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman). Ali MacGraw, who came straight out of college to be Vreeland's assistant, recalls (amusingly) her boss' rigorous working methods. And Vreeland's knack for discovering new faces and trends is remembered; this is the woman who brought the 18-year-old model Lauren Bacall to the world, who counseled Jackie Kennedy on her wardrobe, who hired Twiggy, who hobnobbed with Warhol.
Her life, and her work, transcended what we think of as "fashion." Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel celebrates a unique and uniquely determined woman.