Diana Vreeland was never one to be at a loss for words.
The writer and fashion editor dressed an entire era with her personality. Her lavish career began at Harper’s BAZAAR, when she was hired on the spot by then Editor in Chief, Carmel Snow, who was struck by Diana as she danced her way through a crowded party. She recalled, “[I wore a] white lace Chanel dress with a bolero, and I had roses in my hair.”
In Diana Vreeland: Bon Mots: Words of Wisdom From the Empress of Fashion, readers are treated to inimitable joie de vivre via whimsical illustrations by Luke Edward Hall and quotes edited and sourced by her grandson, Alexander Vreeland.
"The first thing to do, my love, is to arrange to be born in Paris. After that, everything follows quite naturally."
Diana lived her life with no rules and her work totally reflected her rebel spirit. Under her direction, flaws were flaunted instead of ridiculed.
She once said, “Push their faults, make it the most beautiful thing about them,” as well as inventing the term ‘faction’ – a blend of fact and fiction that she explained by saying, “Why not make a story more interesting?”
“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. And we all need a splash of bad taste. No taste is what I am against.”
From Bazaar, Vreeland became Vogue’s Editor in Chief and after that, a special consultant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
For Diana, fashion wasn’t just fabric – it was a way of life. “Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events,” she said. “You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” Sage life lessons aplenty.
“A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere; it’s the life you’re living in the dress.”
Bon Mots: Words of Wisdom From The Empress of Fashion (Rizzoli), Dhs133, bookdepository.com
Illustrations by Luke Edward Hall
Harper’s Bazaar Arabia April 2020 Issue.