(About a 3-minute read)
Ah. Diana Vreeland.
I love to call her my namesake, even though I can’t say she is the reason I have my name. There is not a woman in the world that I would venture to say has more “STYLE” than Diana Vreeland.
I guess because she didn’t let anything or anyone stand in her way. She refused the norm. In fact, if someone told her no, she wanted it even more. Because of this, she created a style that was all her own. She did famously say that all who have style share one thing: originality. She made it acceptable for women to be eccentric, extraordinary and ambitious. What a combination.
Actually, scratch that. I won't dare use the word eccentric. I would die at the thought of Diana Vreeland putting me in the "boring people" category, and I actually live for her thoughts on the word…
"Eccentric is a word that boring people use to describe someone I think of as interesting. A great many people think of me as eccentric simply because when I have my shoes polished, I have the entire shoe polished; tops, sides & soles. When I told Truman (Capote) I had my maid iron my money, here's what he DIDN'T say ‘How eccentric.’ Here's what he DID say...'How Wonderful!'"
Can you love that more!?
She opened my eyes to the world of fashion before my time. I’ll never forget the day one of my friends at Macy’s told me about Diana Vreeland, ‘legendary fashion editor, who was, by all accounts, one of the most incredible and fascinating characters in the entire business.’ She has asked me if I had read Diana’s autobiography. Not even knowing who she was, (I know, I am embarrassed to say this now) I of course said ‘no, but I would love to,’ and ran out that day to get the next copy I could find.
I DEVOURED it…all 208 pages of her colorful, and often exaggerated life.
“Exaggeration is my only reality. A lie to get out of something, or take an advantage for oneself, that’s one thing; but a lie to make life more interesting—well, that’s entirely different.”
How could I be 22 (at the time), a lover of fashion, and NOT know of her fabulosity?!
Let me backtrack.
So, who WAS this trailblazing, wonder of a woman?
Well, she was a New Yorker by way of Paris (I mean, just that right there, and she can sit atop the list for me.) She began her career at Harper's Bazaar in 1936, curating a column called "Why Don't You…?” which is just as outlandish and fabulous as she is.She later moved to Vogue to become Editor in Chief, and then, at age 68, refused to retire, and instead added her magic touch to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, curating the most glamorous of fashion exhibitions. Talk about a career for the books!But wait. There's more! There is so much more than just her career that inspires me.
I adore her outlook on life. Most especially on travel and leisure. I always say that travel is not just a vacation, it is like an education of the world. Her take on it adds to that notion, and is just so spot-on...
"Leisure will give us more time for beauty and the craving to be busy and productive.”
Doesn’t this just give you chills? It almost gives us all permission to experience the world and not feel bad that we aren't at our desks constantly burning the midnight oil. And it really is so true. When I get back from a trip, I am so excited to get back to work. I feel my creativity flowing even more.
Life and creativity is all about balance and she knew how to live and breath it flawlessly. She saw that the world was much bigger than just fashion. She saw its impact. She invented fantasy. She romanticized her days. Is there anything better than sitting across from an amazing story teller? I think not.
When people ask me if there is one person, living or dead, that I would dream to have dinner with…there is no question...it would be Diana.
My goal in life is to be more like her. To be more carefree. To not worry what people think. To pave my own way. To “make an asset of (my) faults.”
But she would probably tell me, ‘No darling, you don’t want to be more like me, you want to be more like YOU!’
And on that note, I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from all her wisdom.
“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself."
If you get nothing from this article, I hope that last line inspires you as much as it has me over the years.