Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland is an exquisite account on Diana Vreeland's life. The book gives us her whole life story in detail together with lovely quotes by Madame Vreeland herself; but also from wonderful people like Truman Capote, Cecil Beaton, Carry Donovan & Polly Devlin to name a few.
"There's only one very good life and that's the life that you know you want and you make it yourself" -Diana Vreeland
I am taken especially by her teenage years and how that affected her whole life to come. Growing up beside a very beautiful sister and being viewed as the ugly duckling by her mother, she took the measures in her own hands to become the most popular person in the world:) Is that not wonderful?
"The Girl" first appeared in Diana's diary in 1918 when she was 14 years old:
"You know for years I am always have been looking out for girls to idolize because they are things to look up to because they are perfect. Never have I discovered that girl or that woman. I shall be that girl."
"Never to be rude to mothers sister or anybody. To improve my writing....I shall alway try terribly hard in everything I do. I shall do things all the time (like make things etc). Never be idle! And so on. There are loads and loads of others."
"I shall please everyone in my appearance & my manner and shall work my hardest in everything I do."
"I want to look after detail and I simply must be perfect"
"I must learn French and be able to speak fluently. I must be able to dance and be a belle everywhere I go"
"I'm going to make myself the most popular girl in the world. I know I can succeed. If I don't....it will be betrayal of my own self."
Such Beauty & Determination coming from someone so young as 14.
As a 17 year old Mademoiselle Diana submitted and essay to the her school's magazine, titled "A Type", about a woman she probably longed to be and what she would love to wear (ca 1920):
"taffeta, telephone screens, round lace handkerchiefs, French silk stockings & squashy sofa cushions....She was always discovering new specialty shops, and hated the big houses for her clothes, they were so wholesale....And was always wanting to know where you got your darling blouse. Her favorite color for herself was grey blue, but she often mentioned that vermilion inspired her....Pearls she considered her correct setting, bracelets and lingerie her passion and Oscar Wilde her idol."
Diana Vreeland worked at Harper's Bazaar from 1936- 1962. She was Editor in Chief of Vogue from 1963-1971. After Vogue Diana worked as a "special consultant" to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
"She's a genius but she's the kind of genius that very few people will ever recognize because you have to have genius yourself to recognize it. Otherwise you just think she's a rather foolish woman." - Truman Capote
An Extraordinary Life; An Extraordinary Woman! I Am In Love With Diana Vreeland.
Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland is written by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart which will be holding illustrated talks about her book:
Oxford Literary Festival - Sunday 24 March at 10.00am
Daunt Books 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1 - Monday 25 March at 7.00pm
Tickets: www.dauntbooks.co.uk or 020-7224 2295
Bath In Fashion Literary Lunch at the Allium Brasserie, Bath - Friday 19 April at 12.00pm
Alice Solantania Saga