Tabulous Tastemaker: Diana Vreeland

September 29, 2015

By Tab Byrum

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Happy Tuesday everyone, today we are celebrating a true Tastemaker, Diana Vreeland, on what would have been her 112th birthday. Diana Vreeland found her passion and fame working in the world of fashion, over the years she operated her own lingerie store in London, was a columnist at Harper’s Bazaar and eventually editor-in-chief at Vogue. Diana Dalziel had a fashionable beginning to life, born in Paris in 1903, her mother, an American socialite, and her British father moved their young family to America at the outbreak of World War I. Diana’s parents became very prominent on the New York social scene, Diana studied dance and became good enough to eventually perform at Carnegie Hall.

In 1924, Diana Dalziel married the banker Thomas Vreeland and they lived in Brewster, New York until 1929 when Mr. Vreeland’s job moved them to London, where Diana eventually opened a lingerie store near Berkely Square and counted Wallis Simpson, the future Duchess of Windsor, among her clients.

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While living in London Diana met many fashionable people such as lifelong friend Cecil Beaton, Diana also traveled to Paris to buy apparel for her boutique and clothes for herself, she met and became friends with Coco Chanel on these buying trips. In 1935, Thomas Vreeland’s job brought the family back to America and New York City, where the couple would live the rest of their lives.

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Diana Vreeland with her family.

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In 1936 Carmel Snow was the editor of Harper’s Bazaar and after meeting Diana and being impressed with her style of dress, Snow asked Diana to become a columnist at Harper’s, from 1936 until her resignation in 1962 Diana Vreeland wrote a column for Harper’s. In 1962, Vreeland joined Vogue magazine and was made editor-in-chief in 1963, a post she held until 1971.

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Diana Vreeland loved the 1960’s and the fact that everyone’s uniqueness was being celebrated. Vreeland was eventually fired from Vogue in 1971, but never one to rest on her laurels Diana Vreeland became a consultant at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she curated a dozen different exhibitions by 1984.

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Diana Vreeland wrote her autobiography, D.V. in 1984, the vivacious fashion plate died of a heart attack in 1989 at the age of 85. Today Diana Vreeland is far from forgotten, with the most recent look at her life being a 2012 documentary entitled Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel. Here’s to celebrating and remembering Diana Vreeland, a true Tastemaker. 

 

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In 1955 the Vreeland’s moved into an apartment, Diana had decorator Billy Baldwin decorate the apartment in red, she said, “I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell.”

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Diana photographed in her “hellish” apartment.

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Vreeland and old friend Cecil Beaton.

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Vreeland poses in front of a portrait of herself.

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Vreeland in 1960’s NYC.

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Diana Vreeland and photographer Richard Avedon working with a model. Rumor has it that she referred to the young photographer as Aberdeen when she first met him, but the two went on to have a beautiful working relationship. 

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Diana Vreeland 1903-1989

All the words are my own and
images are courtesy of Tumblr.

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