Thursday, January 3, 2013

Empress of Fashion by Amanda MacKenzie Stuart

A life of Diana Vreeland.... Because I have always loved fashion and interior design I had heard some tales of Vreeland, editor of Vogue from 1962-1971.  The Devil Wears Prada was about Anna Wintour as Vogue editor, but I had heard that Wintour was a carbon copy of Vreeland before her.
What was interesting was that this woman who ruled the fashion world for years, first as editor of Vogue and then as the head of the Met's Costume Institute, was an ugly duckling. Her mother was quite beautiful and a socialite ( as was her younger sister)  and quite openly treated her daughter as an outcast. When Diana was fourteen, she decided to make something of herself, to live the life of her dreams. She detailed all in a journal she kept. She began purposefully building a beautiful life. Vreeland told people she grew up in Europe, which was not true. Records show she grew up in New York, but this was just one of the many fantasies that I believe kept her going. She ended up marrying a very handsome man, moving to London and living on a shoe string, but involving herself with the rich & famous. She became a model/mannequin for clothing designers in Paris including CoCo Chanel. When her husband Reed was transferred back to America, she joined the staff at Harper's Bazaar, told friends it was on a lark but in truth, they needed the money.
Note: Although she had two sons, she was very rarely around to mother them. I found this very sad, a repeat of her own childhood.
This book is very detailed and is not a quick read. I did enjoy hearing this life story of a very strong willed woman. Someone who set a goal, a lofty goal, and moved heaven & earth to get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment