Fashion has been the subject of movies over the years with the release of the well known film The Devil Wears Prada starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. In addition, some of you may be familiar with such titles as The September Issue, Valentino: The Last Emperor and recently the documentary Coco Before Chanel.
Now another fashion tastemaker has been brought to life on the big screen. DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL is an intimate portrait and a vibrant celebration of one of the most influential women of the 20th century, an enduring icon whose influence changed the face of fashion, beauty, art, publishing and culture itself forever.
During Diana Vreeland’s (1903-1989) fifty year reign as the “Empress of Fashion,” she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis, and established countless trends that have withstood the test of time. She was the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar where she worked for twenty-five years before becoming editor-in-chief of Vogue, followed by a remarkable stint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she helped popularize its historical collections.
After twenty-five years at Harper’s Bazaar, Diana resigned and took over as Vogue editor-in-chief. It was the swinging sixties, where – as Diana would say – “you could have a bump on your nose, it made no difference so long as you had a marvelous body and carriage.” Uniqueness was being celebrated and Vreeland’s transformation of Vogue was at the vanguard of this cultural revolution. The pages of Vogue exploded with fashion, art, music, film; this became its “golden years.” It was suddenly a young, new and exciting magazine, where models had personalities and fashion spoke to all women. Diana became a living legend, with her striking silhouette, her jet-black hair, and her peculiar voice, somewhere between high society and street slang. Her famous red living room, “a garden in hell,” became the headquarters for New York arts and society. Diana would look upon these years as her most glorious ones; she had finally found an era fit for her vivid and wild imagination.
Shortly after the death of her husband, Diana was abruptly fired from Vogue in 1971, turning the fashion world upside down. Rumors had it that she was so distraught that she took to bed for a year, but Diana was far from having her last dance. In 1972, at age seventy, she started working at the Met’s Costume Institute where she set new standards for exhibiting fashion worldwide, awakening an institution that had been forever sleepy. Like a film director, she created sets in which elaborate fantasies came to life. Her controversial approach – based on drama and theatre sometimes more than historical fact – was criticized by some historians, but they were silenced when her shows brought in huge crowds and put the Costume Institute on the map. Diana blended fact with fantasy throughout her career, even once exclaiming that Charles Lindberg had flown over her lawn in Brewster on his way to Paris. Upon being asked if her story was fact or fiction, she responded, “Faction!”
Diana Vreeland was the oracle of fashion for much of the 20th century, inviting us to join her on a voyage of perpetual reinvention and take part in the adventure of life. Through her trained and diligent eye, she opened the door of our minds and gave us the freedom to imagine. Her images and accomplishments are as fresh and relevant now as they were then, and her spirit is just a vibrant and relevant today. As Jackie Onassis once put it: “To say Diana Vreeland has dealt only with fashion trivializes what she has done. She has commented on the times in a wise and witty manner. She has lived a life.”
This movie has opened to critical acclaim nationwide. Visit fandango.com for local listings and be sure to catch this film before it closes.
ENJOY THIS SNEAK PEEK AT THE TRAILER: DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL