Yesterday I blogged about Grace Coddington, Creative Director at Vogue and her uninspiring memoir Grace. After ranting about my disappointment with her memoir, I wanted to show you how it’s done. Everyone knows about Anna Wintour, but before Anna there was Diana! Diana Vreeland is best known for holding the top position at American Vogue and her earlier years at Harper’s Bazaar. As she famously said, “I wasn’t a fashion editor, I was THE ONE AND ONLY fashion editor.” After the magazines, Vreeland staged another career comeback by transforming the Met’s Costume Institute from a sleepy storage facility into a vibrant and wildly popular wing of the museum. Under Vreeland’s leadership the Met housed 15 blockbuster shows, much like the hugely popular shows at the Costume Institute today.
In the fall I saw her documentary The Eye Has to Travel and I was hooked on her larger than life personality. She really was a treasure, though I would have been terrified to work for her. I didn’t know much about her before seeing the movie, but now I can’t get enough. I’m currently reading the book The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, but I’d DIE to find more of her famous office memos the documentary talks about. Visionaire writes,
One day a mysterious package arrived at the Visionaire offices. It was a large box containing more than four-hundred original memos from Diana Vreeland to her staff at Vogue. The package had been sent to us by a contributor who preferred to remain anonymous but who had been on the receiving end of some of this legendary inter-office correspondence. In some ways, the experience was like stumbling upon fashion’s Holy Grail. We had heard stories about these memos but were stunned to find out that they actually existed. Dating from 1966 to 1972, the memos, which were dictated to Vreeland’s secretary from the sanctuary of her bathroom each morning, covered topics ranging from the wacky (the use of freckles or the utter importance of dog collars, for example) to the divine (the genius of Halston). But more importantly, the Vreeland memos provide a rare glimpse inside the mind of one of the most influential women in fashion history. (Visionaire 37)
“I am extremely disappointed to see that we have used practically no pearls at all in the past few issues. In fact, many necklines could have been helped by pearls worn inside the dress that show inside the cutaway sides and back of most ordinary dresses on top…
I speak of this very often — and as soon as I stop speaking the pearls disappear.
Nothing gives the luxury of pearls. Please keep this in mind.”
-Diana Vreeland in a December 9, 1966 memo
“It looked marvelous.“
How amazing would it be to read a larger collection of these memos?? Just like Vreeland said herself, I’d DIE to get my hands on a copy of Visionaire 37 that published 150 of Vreeland’s office memos. I’m sure one day they’ll surface in a larger collection. So until that is published, check out the a-mazing documentary and the book! You won’t regret it!