Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel
I’m playing a game of Blogger’s Roulette today. There are three ideas spinning around in my head and I’m not sure which one I’m going to shoot to pieces. Click. It’s the new documentary Diana Vreeland The Eye Has To Travel. Which is good because I’ve seen a preview and it’s out in the UK this week.
‘She was the first blogger,’ Diane Von Furstenberg says of Diana (pronounced Dee-anna) Vreeland, ‘She was always sending out memos.’ So as well as editing two of the world’s biggest fashion magazines, advising Jackie Kennedy and discovering Lauren Bacall, DV was constantly churning out bite-sized pronouncements. Succinct and eloquent, she’d have been a star of the Twitterverse.
Now, I’m not a proper film critic, I haven’t quite mastered the art of taking notes in the dark. I was almost tempted to take one of my bike lights out of my bag and use it as a torch but don’t think that would’ve gone down well with The Times journalist sitting directly in front of me – and I’d already spilt my coffee down the back of her seat. Anyhow. The film is fantastic. I loved the preview and can’t wait to buy the DVD. Lots of great clips of Vreeland in conversation, a gorgeous selection of her timeless fashion shoots and interviews with friends, family and business colleagues: photographers such as Richard Avedon (‘Diana was like a crazy aunt…she was and remains the only genius fashion editor’) and David Bailey, models including China Machado (‘Diana was fashion’), Lauren Hutton and Angelica Huston and her put-upon assistant at Harper’s Bazaar, Ali McGraw.
She was ‘a woman of a certain age with power’ as Angelica Huston points out. DV’s creative vision – using exceptional-looking models sent out an important message at the time – and eloquent pronouncements, turned her into one of the most influential women of the 20th century. The legendary fashion editor admits that she never felt comfortable with her looks until she met her husband Reed Vreeland. DV’s mother called her ‘my ugly little monster,’ though personally, I think she was incredibly striking. Beautiful in an extraordinary way. Talented, funny and charming. And a bit of a fantasist too. From meeting Buffalo Bill on holiday in the Rocky Mountains to seeing the Lindberg flying over Brewster (which wasn’t even on its route), you’re never quite sure what’s fact or fiction. As the Metropolitan Museum’s Harold Koda points out, ‘There were these moments when she was not representing the historical truth… she was a great inventor.’