D V Author:Diana Vreeland Review — Did Lindbergh really fly over, en route to Paris, while Diana Vreeland was sitting in the sun - with "my darling bambino" and her husband's Godfather-ly bootlegger? Did the "Golden Prince" of Wales really tell his father, years before he met Wallis Simpson, "that never, under any circumstances, would he succeed him"? Does it actually mat... more »ter - "a lie, to make life more interesting. . . ?" Vreeland, as multitudes know, is America's grand impresario of fashion: guiding spirit of the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute, ex-editor of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. Here, she is equally a raconteur of the outre, a social barometer aware that "outre" is passe, a casual aphorist. Life began for Diana in Paris (c. 1906) - "a world where beauties had something to give the world," where "everything was new" and clothes mattered. Within view, Diaghilev (a family caller) swept away the Edwardian era. Back in America, Diana adored horses, hated school, "discovered dancing [and] learned to dream." At 18, not beautiful but soignee (hints of the ugly-duckling-who-wouldn't-be), she fell-in-love-at-first-sight with banker Reed Vreeland: "older" at 25, "an achievement," and forever glamorous. ("I can remember always pulling myself up, thinking, 'I must be at my very best.' ") The self-portrayal - though spotty, discontinuous - has veracity, coherence. And extension: "Before I started working. . . I was like a Japanese wife." She relates her fondness, as a newly-wed, for Albany ("a pretty little Dutch town"); her voracious reading - self-education - as an idle young London wife; the trips with Reed to "exotic" Hungary, Morocco. She opens a lingerie shop in a London mews (where, supposedly, Mrs. Simpson orders her Belvedere-tryst nightgowns); back in America again, Harper's Bazaar's Carmel Snow spots her dancing at the St. Regis; she succeeds Snow, then eventually shifts (Hearst penury) to Vogue; lastly, she's in Russia and Hungary, scouting for the great Costume Institute shows. All in ripples of fashion-and-society talk - Balenciaga's "sense of color" to Jackie's Inaugural sable muff - and Society tattle/confabulation. Only occasionally campy: overall, a singular, immensely seductive combination of Baron Munchhausen and Roland Barthes. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The best-selling autobiography of this century's most formidable arbiter of elegance, Diana Vreeland.
As fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar and editor-in-chief of Vogue, Diana Vreeland--and her passion, charm, insouciance, and genius for style--energized and inspired the fashion world for fifty years. In this glittering autobiography she takes us around the world with her, revealing her obsession with fashion high and low--pink plastic poodles, for example--and dropping timeless sayings like, "As you know, the French like the French very much." A fabulous, witty read.« less