Impossible Conversations: Diana Vreeland

Posted by Jeffrey
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It is a fitful time for Mrs. V with all the hubbub about one of her successors. She has been a bit dismayed by all of it. After all, she feels cheated that the MMA named the Costume Institute after the current Voguette and not her... rightfully so I might add, and then there was that debacle of a cover! So when DV asked to be heard one more time so that everyone could be reminded of just how divine she was … who am I to refuse a legend of her caliber?

She lived in a “garden in hell,” she searched for the perfect red, she dictated, she swilled scotch, she pronounced and she dictated but she was never ever boring. Diana Vreeland raised the bar to impossible heights, she made us believe in all things beautiful, and she created fashion before the clothes were designed. She was a star maker; models, photographers, designers, she created mega stars and most of all she left us a legacy of her own creation.

Here is my “impossible conversation” with the grandest dame of fashion... past or present!


JF: What is your current state of mind?

DV: I am finally able to chat up all these lovely folks who have come to see me...Yves, Lee, and Blass, Giorgio, Dick and even darling Nan, who no longer needs that dreadful awful oxygen wheelie next to her even when she smoked, and then there is Brooke and even chere Lou Lou ..Actually I am thrilled, even that dreadful worm of a man Jerry Zipkin is here

JF: What do you think of the present state of fashion?

DV: How indescribably ghastly it is now that bu$iness has become more important than “la mode” tsk tsk tsk and that bobbed, botoxed Brit person is like a walking cash register trying to find jobs for bad designers and constantly beating the money drum…so so déclassé? D’accord? She will be the demise of fashion!!

JF: What do you think of the celebrity/model idea?

DV: Yes of course we always had celebrities and Dick (Aberdeen) always did such a superb job with them but NOW you have such low class women to choose from and those simply detestable reality people. Those women are a mop and pail away from being maids ...so low class, so common. There are so few real natural beauties ... now it is injectable here, pumped up that and re build these and I say ‘kiss my ass” where are the beauties ... the originals? You know ... the Veruschkas and the Chinas?? And please don’t get me started about the quality of photographers!!

JF: What's your advice to new talent?

DV: Be original. ..Be daring…be fabulous ...why not find what no one else has done and do it?

JF: What was your crowning achievement?

DV: I was fabulous!! I made them notice me, listen to me, breathlessly anticipate my moods. I dared to be different I dared never to be boring; I discovered and nurtured some of the greatest talents in fashion. I even painted the soles of my shoes red before Monsieur Louboutin ever had an inkling of doing it...ca va!

JF: Do you think fashion is taken too seriously?

DV: Yes, I think all the joie de vivre has left the building so to speak, there is this malaise, this miasma … no je ne sais quoi...just more and more dresses that are all versions of one another ---well you know since I am prone to exaggeration, not really all but so many are derivative or simply copied from the greats and then never acknowledged. Cristobal really just ruined it for everyone! Where is the PIZAZZ?


(R) Diana Vreeland wearing a suit from Henri Bendel, Photo by Louise Dahl Wolfe, 1942. (L) In Balenciaga


(L) Diana Vreeland, Dovima and Richard Avedon, New York, 1955. (R) Wearing Schiaparelli, Photo by Louise Dahl Wolfe, 1937.


(L-R) Illustrations by Antonio Lopez, René Bouché, Tim Otte & Joe Eula.


(L) Photo by Richard Avedon, Harper's Bazaar, 1946. (R) Diana Vreeland with Marisa Berenson, photo by James Karales.


(L) Diana Vreeland advertising Blackglama furs, Photo by Richard Avedon. New York, 1977. (R) Diana Vreeland and Cecil Beaton look at a drawing, Photo by James Karales, 1965.


A selection of Diana Vreeland Books.


(L) Diana Vreeland at El Morocco, New York 1938. (R) Diana Vreeland by Priscilla Rattazzi, 1982.


Photo by Richard Avedon.

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