“Elegance is innate. It has nothing to do with being well dressed” and “Pink is the navy blue of India“. You could fill an encyclopedia with her extraordinary bon motes and diktates. Diana Vreeland legendary editor of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue America, and museum special consultant and fashion exhibition curator but most of all extraordinary visionary and revolutionary of fashion system.
Diane was born in Paris in 1903, daughter of an elegant Scottish banker and a sophisticated American socialite, in 1936 she began her work with Harper’s Bazaar, of which she became fashion editor in 1939. Meticulous and visionary at the same time, she invented a profession, and it was fashion that followed her. In 1962, she moved to the US edition of “Vogue”, of which she became editor-in-chief the following year. As her friend Cecil Beaton wrote in 1954: “Mrs. Vreeland is unquestionably the Madame de Sévigné of fashion’s court: witty, brilliant, intensely human, gifted like Madame de Sévigné with a superb flair for anecdotes that she communicates verbally rather than in epistles, Mrs. Vreeland is more of a connoisseur of fashion than anyone I know“.
The extraordinary and complex Diana Vreeland’s figure is now being celebrated in an exhibition in Venice at the Fortuny Museum - untill 25 June- entitled Diana Vreeland after Diana Vreeland. It covers the importance of her creativity and her powers of imagination and seek to offer a fresh approach with which to interpret the elements of her style and thinking.
This is the first major exhibition to be dedicated to the extraordinary and complex Diana Vreeland. The venetian exhibition is curated by Judith Clark and Maria Luisa Frisa and it was commissioned by Lisa Immordino Vreeland and is being co-supported by the Fondazione di Musei Civici Veneziani and the Diana Vreeland Estate.
The aim being to restore a sense of the “magnificent gait” with which Diana Vreeland processed through fashion of the 20th century, initially during her years at “Harper’s Bazaar” and “Vogue”, and then in her role as Special Consultant for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
In Venice the visitor will be able to admire dresses that belonged to Diana Vreeland including some models by Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy, some extraordinary robes by Balenciaga, some of the most iconic creations by Saint Laurent. Finally, other precious garments that have made some of the history of 20th-century fashion, loaned from private collections and company archives, and including such labels as Chanel, Schiaparelli, Missoni, Pucci together with costumes for the Ballets. The exhibition display as well some photographs and personal objects lent by her heirs and an important overview of her editorial work for magazines.
An amazing review of the many facets that go to make up the kaleidoscopic career of this total icon of fashion with unique style and superbe flair. She died in New York in 1989. At her memorial service, Richard Avedon said of her: “Diana lived for imagination ruled by discipline. No one has equaled her”.
Diana Vreeland after Diana Vreeland
San Marco 3958 – Venezia
10th of March – 25th of June 2012
Image courtesy: Foto Musei Civici Veneziani