|"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" movie poster|
The film takes a candid approach of telling Vreeland's story through archival recorded sittings with author George Plimpton during the writing of her autobiography "D.V" and through the myriad images of her extensive work as fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar and Editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazines. She was known as the 'Empress of Fashion', a fitting title. She was a true visionary; the fashion magazine as we know it today would not be what it is without Diana Vreeland. Her forward-thinking take on the magazine format as a life-of-style features compendium brought readers an unparalleled access to popular and art culture and iconographic imagery through her extraordinary work in fashion editorial storytelling and the discovery of the first generation of fashion supermodels (even before the term was coined) and the celebrity fashion feature. Vreeland took the magazine, which was once a vehicle of idle passing for the women of the time and turned it into something that the masses would read. Her approach aimed to paint the world in a different light of understanding and urged your view of it in an entirely different perspective and made you question what was "style", how it defined and what it meant to you.
She did the same thing for the art world, practically inventing the fashion exhibition with her work that she did with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. Spinning the idea in everyone's mind that going to an art museum wasn't just a tour of historical relics but something that was alive, that it was living and breathing. Diana knew that art was meant to be an experience for the viewer and something real and visceral and that you the viewer, were a part of. She created the fashion exhibition into a point a reference into the fantasy/reality world of fashion, educating the Institute's patrons and, in her style, making it into the biggest and most spectacular event ever. Her aim was to present fashion as art, not just fashion as craft. She created wonderful exhibits that showed us that fashion isn't something that is utilitarian or something we mime through every single day, but something that is crafted with creative thought and with creation of beauty at its very core. Imagine what today's plethora of fashion exhibitions would be like without the spark that Vreeland created with her tenure at the Met, let alone that she was responsible in creating the Costume Institute's Met Ball, the "Oscars" of the fashion industry which is the premiere event of the Art and Fashion worlds.
All in all, this delightful film brings Diana Vreeland back to life for a generation of people who knew her and introduces her to a new generation. Honestly, she was a delightfully eccentric coo coo bird of a woman who in all (sense of the word) fashion really was herself a work of art and an inspiration of so many people.
I will never forget how Vreeland inspired me when I first encountered her through the pages of vintage Vogue and Harper's Bazaar's on quiet afternoons in the public library. I would gawk and gasp at the images in front of my eyes and be transported to places beyond my young imagination, longing to reach out and be there for real. Or how I'd look at the unusual beauty of Anjelica Huston or Penelope Tree, or the timeless perfection of Marisa Berenson or Lauren Hutton, and see myself reflected back in fragments and parts and come to know that I too, in my unique way, were just as beautiful (if not more). And, the first time I ever visited a museum (outside of my hometown, on a family trip to New York) and saw a world of history presented through clothes was at the Met, where art came to life and fashion became art for me. These very fond memories are because of Diana Vreeland, who taught me to always cultivate the eye and let it travel and that you most definitely have got to have...style.
"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" in select theaters now. Please see your local listings.