'Bring me shoes with chains on them.' Someone would come in swearing, saying, 'What's she on about now? There's no such thing as a shoe with a chain on it!' But you know, in six months' time everybody was wearing a shoe with a chain on it'
- Felicity Clark's (Diana's secretary from 1964 to 1969) memo on Diana Vreeland
Diana's simplistic elegancy and eye for impeccable clothes got her into the position of fashion editor for Harper's Bazar. Before the fashion world was introduced to Diana Vreeland in 1936, the fashion editors were socialite women focusing only on socialite trends in France and other European countries. Diana focused mainly on American style. She encouraged the readers to dress to fit their personality, and not to follow the trends of the socialite. She was fearless and passionate about her work, and this was also her message to her readers: Be fearless and original, be yourself but not your "ordinary dull self".
'Why don't you... Turn your child into an Infanta for a fancy-dress party?'
- From Diana's celebrated column Why don't you for Harper's Bazar.
Diana took her style and influence to new heights in 1962, when she became editor in chief for Vogue. She wiped off old dust and brought freshness into both the magazine and the world of fashion in general. Diana Vreeland became the most influential person in fashion industry, and is still today called 'the Empress of Fashion'. In 1971 Diana was fired from Vogue and started working for Costume Insitute of Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she organized exhibitions. Her first show, on the work of fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga, drew more than 150,000 people to the museum.
Her reign as editor in chief revolutionized and reinvented fashion industry, how we see style, how we define beauty. As a fashion icon she has inspired designers, models, photographers and fashion and art lovers of all generations all over the world.
'I think part of my success as an editor came from never worrying about a fact, a cause, an atmosphere. I was me - projecting to the public. That was my job. I think I always had a perfectly clear view of what was possible for the public. Give 'em what they never knew they wanted.'
Want to know more?
Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart