Diana Vreeland – legendary editor-in-chief of “Harper’s Bazaar”

Diana Vreeland – legendary editor-in-chief of “Harper’s Bazaar”
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This name has permanently entered the pages of fashion history. We are talking about Diana Vreeland, considered one of the most important figures of the industry in the 20th century. What was the French editor’s distinguishing feature? We have checked.

Diana Vreeland on her way to fame

Diana Vreeland, or rather Diana Dalziel, was born in 1903 in Paris into a wealthy family, from where she moved to the United States in order to avoid World War I. She was not a classic beauty, but she was one of the most important figures of the 20th century. She was not a classic beauty, but she made up for it with her character, style and personality, leading an active social life. Her teenage character was shaped by dancing, walking, and even… sleeping outdoors, among other things. This made her realize that beauty is not just about the outer shell, but more importantly a state of mind that anyone can shape at will.

At the age of 21, Diana married the influential financier Thomas Reede Vreeland. Together they moved from New York to London, which turned out to be a hit for her later life.

She was fascinated by Coco Chanel, whom she met in person. She spent time with the British aristocracy, went shopping in Paris, met French designers, lived among the rich, but she did not have as much money as they did. So she had to start working. She opened a lingerie boutique. In a short time, she managed to attract the cream of society and millionaires, thanks to her incredible sense of fashion. After a few years, her husband’s business affairs forced them to return to New York.

‘Harper’s Bazaar’ a turning point in life

The adventure with “Harper’s Bazaar” began unexpectedly. At one of the lavish parties in 1936, Diana was spotted by the then editor-in-chief of the magazine. Carmel Snow noticed Vreeland’s unique style and immediately offered her a job at “Harper’s Bazaar”. In her own column she gave advice on fashion and beauty, not shying away from bold and controversial topics.

Diana steadily strengthened her position without giving up her distinctive style and personality. Her raven-black hair was always combed back but tucked up at the ears, her cheeks were highlighted with blush and her lips with red lipstick. She was fond of turbans and lots of clanking jewelry.

She was with the magazine for twenty-four years, in the meantime being promoted to editor-in-chief. She was charismatic and her approach was visionary and revolutionary. Diana Vreeland was the oracle of fashion. Jacqueline Kennedy herself commissioned her to take charge of her image.

Career after “Harper’s Bazaar”

At the age of 59, Vreeland took over as editor-in-chief of the American edition of “Vogue”, the biggest competitor of “Harper’s Bazaar”. There she also quickly introduced her own order, breathed life and a lot of color and youthful spirit into still quite conservative magazine. Among others she promoted Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.

After eight years she was fired, so she became a consultant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and organized several exhibitions.

In 1984, after nearly 50 years in the fashion industry, her autobiography was published. Diana Vreeland died in 1989, and 22 years later a documentary film “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” was made showing her story.

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