The Empress of Fashion

Text: Konstantina Livaditi

“The best thing about London is Paris.” “Fashion is not the same thing as style.”
“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.” These are a few of Diana Vreeland’s famous words, a woman who changed the way that magazines were set up until then, a woman whose vision created projects that until today are admired for their innovation and originality.

Diana Vreeland, came to the world as Diana Dalziel. She was born in Paris in 1903 and died in New York in 1989. Her life was hectic and intense. Her father, Frederick Young Dalziel, was British and her mother, Emily Key Hoffman, was American. She also had a younger sister, Alexandra. On March 1924, Diana Dalziel married Thomas Reed Vreeland, a banker, with whom she had two sons.

Her publishing career began in 1937. Her calling came when Carmel Snow, then editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar noticed Vreeland for her style and made her a contributor. She started working as a columnist for the magazine and later on she became editor in chief. Her column was called  “Why don’t you? ”, in which she used to set questions-different every time- to her readers. A characteristic one is the following:  “Why don’t you paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys’ nursery so they won’t grow up with a provincial point of view?”. In 1963 Vreeland joins Vogue magazine and become editor-in-chief,  in which she continues her magnificent work until 1971.

Her last job was at Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she helped popularize its historical collections. During her whole career, she worked with the greatest names of the fashion world.
Just to mention to name a few; Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Alexey Brodovitch and Lauren Bacall.

Diana Vreeland was a woman with vision. The documentary “The Eye Has to Travel” pays tribute to the extraordinary life that she had. It was written and directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, the wife of a Vreeland grandson, Alexander. In the film we sneak a peek into the world of a woman who has had a strong influence on the course of fashion, beauty, publishing and culture.  It is an intimate portrait, a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the twentieth  century.