Dear Pennies (readers of de la Pen),
I’m trying something new today. I’ve decided to begin calling readers of de la Pen, Pennies, similar to how I call readers of my other blog, The Loudest Pen Ever, Paper Chasers. Since blogging is meant to be a conversation between a blogger and their readers it is much easier to blog when speaking to readers directly. Also, I think it would be cool to write de la Pen posts in letter format. Anywho, onto today’s post.
Diana Vreeland past away twenty-one years ago but she is still a forced to be reckoned with. There are only two words that really describe her…fashion inspiration. In the late 1930s, she became what her mother and grandmother never were…a working woman. The story of Diana Vreeland’s hire at Harper’s Bazaar by editor Carmel Snow is now a certified legend. After Carmel Snow saw Diana dancing at the St. Regis hotel in New York wearing Chanel, she offered her a job. Diana initially did not want to take the job as she’d never worked in fashion but Carmel Snow insisted she would be of value to the magazine.
So in 1937, Diana Vreeland began working at Harper’s Bazaar where she worked with other influential fashion giants like Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Alexey Brodovitch. Diana became famous for her column, “Why Don’t You”, her dramatic personality, and her eye for fashion. However, in 1957, Diana was not promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar and she left the magazine to become Editor-in-Chief of Vogue in 1963. Diana’s final working years were spent as the Director of the Costume Insitute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Diana Vreeland is a fashion inspiration not simply because she worked for two of the world’s most powerful fashion magazines, but, because she still influences fashion to this day. How so? She affected so many other icons of fashion that there seems to be a long winding path that always points back to her. Diana Vreeland consulted Jacqueline Kennedy on what to wear and introduced the first lady to Oleg Cassini who became her personal designer. She also mentored Andre Leon Talley who is still a major force in the fashion industry. Lastly, she made the Costume Institute more fashion oriented and exciting.
As I stated, Diana Vreeland was able to influence fashion in a myriad of ways. Any person who can be successful in their industry is to be commended but someone who can stand the test of time (a.k.a. be written about after their death) is to be celebrated. Diana Vreeland had class, style, and she knew how to communicate with the American woman. She knew how to dress them and talk to them. She was truly blessed with a gift.
I was first confronted with Diana Vreeland via the blog, http://fashionista.com/ when they did a post on “must read fashion books” and DV (Diana Vreeland’s autobiography) made the list. I was unfamiliar with her name and immediately sought out Google. After doing basic research, I went to the library and checked out her book. I must admit that it took me awhile to get into the book. Mrs. Vreeland was many things but sadly a writer wasn’t one of them. The book is still a fabulous read since Mrs. Vreeland knew movie stars like Clark Gable, singers like Joesphine Baker, and royalty a.k.a. the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
But like I said, the book is somewhat of a difficult read because Mrs. Vreeland tends to skip around and doesn’t discuss her fashion career until halfway through the book. The power in the book then becomes the fact that Diana Vreeland wasn’t just a fashion maven, but, a woman. A woman with a very interesting and complex life. And yet, the shining light of the book is the fashion. Imagine a conversation between Mrs. Vreeland and Coco Chanel in Paris, Mrs. Vreeland and Joesphine Baker…the things that they wore! I believe it was probably luxury, excess, and of course fabulous fashion in all its glory. In essence, Diana Vreeland is a fashion inspiration because it is after all, the thing she is most famous for.
And there it is. The Fashion and Style of the Pen…de la Pen.
For more information on Diana Vreeland check out:
The Divine Mrs. V by Eleanor Dwight – http://nymag.com/nymetro/shopping/fashion/features/n_7930/
Diana Vreeland – Wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Vreeland