Diana Vreeland - Worth the Hype

Looking elegant years before she began her career - Diana Vreeland

I cannot recommend last year's documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, (now available on netflix) enough. She is best known as the editor of Vogue in the 60's, who brought us bikinis and Twiggy. She was the tough, stylish maven at the helm of the style making periodical, much like Anna Wintour today. But watching this documentary I was really struck by her work at Harper's Bazaar, where she worked from 1936-1962.

Vreeland's Column, "Why Don't You..."

Vreeland's Column, "Why Don't You..."

I love the wit and imagination of her Great Depression era column "Why Don't You..." This one reads:

Why don't you? Zip yourself into your evening dresses? Waft a big bouquet around like a fairy wand? Wear a bowler? Stick Japanese hair-pins in your hair? Buy a transparent evening coat? Or a geranium chiffon toque? Or bright flannel gloves? Or a black blouse? Expose your fortune in an isinglass bag? Hide your hips under an accordion-pleated jacket? Wear fruit hats? Currents? Cherries? Or tilt your blue wool skirt to show a candy-striped petticoat?

Going back through the covers from her time at Harper's, I am blown away by the artistry of them. They are truly stunning. Here is a selection:

The following images were both styled by Vreeland. These stylish photos have an attitude and naturalness not seen in other women's magazines of the day. Not to mention both of these dresses would be absolutely in style today.

1951

1958