The only real elegance is in the mind; If you've got that, the rest really comes from it.
What do I think about the way most people dress? Most people are not something one thinks about.
Pink is the navy blue of India.
Poor darling fellow - he died of food. He was killed by the dinner table.
Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since gondola
I always wear my sweater back to front. It is much more flattering.
Too much good taste can be boring.
(Balenciaga) did the most delicious evening clothes. Clothes aren't delicious anymore.
People who eat white bread have no dreams.
Allow me to introduce you to Diana Vreeland - yesteryear's renowned columnist and magazine editor (amongst many other elite labels). 'DV' as she was often referred to began her career as a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar. Until then fashion was simply reported like all other news items, with a write up of the latest trends prevailing at that time. However, DV ushered in a change with her colourful column, "Why don't you?" in which she encouraged her readers to add a bit of glamour to their otherwise dull lives by suggesting "Why don't you....wash your child's hair in champagne?" , "Why don't you ...wear like the Duchess of Kent, three diamond stars arranged in your hair in front?" and other such impractical but super stylish ideas. Besides her ground breaking column, she also worked with models, oversaw the clothes to be featured in the magazine and took a keen interest in every photo shoot that was done for the magazine.
In 1963 DV moved to Vogue, where she became editor-in-chief. Each day she would arrive at her office in a limousine nearing lunch time. She would step out from the chauffer driven car dressed impeccably in her signature head to toe black outfits. An assistant in waiting would quickly begin to note down her mile a minute dictations as she strutted to her office clicking her high heels. ( Makes me wonder if Meryl Streep's character in the movie The Devil Wears Prada was inspired from DV's. ) At Vogue, she discovered a lot of fresh talent including "youthquaker" (a term coined by DV herself!) Eddie Sedgwick and model Lauren Hutton who later went on to become one of the most photographed women of all times. DV had grand abundant ideas and a knack for spotting the next big fashion trend. She loved the eclectic sixties with all her heart and she regarded the decade as that of celebrating uniqueness and confidence.
At 69, DV began the most successful phase of her career. After getting fired from Vogue (rather abruptly), DV went on to become a consultant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Art Museum.
DV was a classic example of a woman who made the most of what she had. Traditionally speaking she was neither beautiful nor attractive. But with her trademark heavily rouged cheekbones, looong eyelashes and flawlessly manicured red lacquered nails, DV made heads turn everywhere she went. Her personal style mostly consisted of elegant black dresses teamed up with exotic jewellery, expensive shoes and hats.Even her Park Avenue apartment was an extension of her unique style. It was decorated entirely with red floral wall paper, red furniture and a red carpet. She was known to instructed her decorator Billy Baldwin to make her apartment "look like a garden, but a garden in hell."
In her free time, DV along with her husband Reed, entertained the who's who of the society in their "Red Pad". Their friend list consisted of Cecil Beaton, Cole Porter, The First Lady - Jacqueline Onasis, Oscar de la Renta, Coco Chanel etc. The couple managed to mask their lack of finance from their posh circle of friends by sporting expensive couture outfits and having an aura of glamour around them.
(Slim Hawks chatting with DV and her husband Reed at Kitty Miller's New Year's Eve party. Photograph: Slim Aarons)
D.V's wit, intuition and good taste inspired everyone from Debutantes to Drag Queens alike. She left a mark in the world of fashion with her prompt and unique one liners. Here are a few quotes that inspire me and/or bring a smile on my face:
(Photograph by Bert Morgan/Getty Images)
Amongst other things, DV was an 'original'. She had her own personal style and was not afraid to wear and speak about it. And although, like all other revolutionaries, she too had her fair share of detractors, I personally admire this woman's fierce attitude and ingenuity. She did her own thing and in the process changed the course of fashion forever!
(Model Lisa Fonssagrives with DV and photographer Louis Dahl Wolf in 1947. Photographer: Arthur Rothstein)
For an in depth look at Diana Vreeland's life of "high style and high drama" visit here .
Wishing you all a glamorous Vintage Wednesday!