Diana Vreeland - The Eye Has To Travel
Was there ever a woman more stylish? It oozed out of every pore. It's claimed that Diana Vreeland was the original Devil wears Prada... and even more terrifying to work for!
The Eye Has To Travel is a tellingly personal portrait of Diana Vreeland, the most iconic editor in the glossy magazine world. The film title is a reference to her love of creative visuals, the keynote for everything she approached in her original take on art and fashion.
Vreeland edited both US magazine big players Harper's Bazaar and Vogue back in the day when fashion ruled - from 1936 until she was unceremoniously fired from Vogue in 1971. She edited in the heady days when exotic fashion shoots (called sittings) took weeks to produce and blew the budgets sky high.
I remember, as an art student, drooling over pages that unfolded like dramatic pictorial films. Verushka, the leggy Russian was painted all over in animal stripes, and Penelope Tree with her haunted elfin look, was perched atop a ghostly tree scape, whilst baby-faced Twiggy sashayed through sixties New York in her miniskirts.
One of the most mesmerising touches of the film is seeing Verushka and Penelope Tree today reminiscing!
Vreeland abhorred a lack of personal style, had red painted nails and coiffured hair whatever the day demanded - yet saw beauty in the most obscure of places.
What she would have made of today's dress-down style approach is unthinkable. Yet I imagine the digital age of Facebook would have excited and intrigued her.
She had an enquiring mind, and at the age of seventy, after her demise at Vogue, embraced a whole new career curating exciting costume exhibitions for the Met. This spawned a new genre of art-meets-fashion exhibitions the world over. Witness the recent success of Prada at the Met this year.
Diana Vreeland virtually invented the word style: 'without it, you are nothing' was her mantra. In turn, her muse was the legendary arbiter of style Coco Chanel, who gave women fashion emancipation.
The Eye has to Travel is released on 21 September 2012.