The Venerable Diana Vreeland

Usually the term “fashion icon” refers to someone who performs in front of the camera.  But sometimes it’s the ones behind the lens who have had the greatest style impact.

For me,  Diana Vreeland is a near perfect example of this.

“Diana,  who?” you ask.

Well,  before there was Anna there was Diana… or so the story goes…

Diana Vreeland was the original grand dame of fashion.  Not only was she the epitome of chic,  turning heads in everything from Balenciaga to Chanel,  but she was also credited with “discovering” everyone from Lauren Bacall in the 1940s to Edie Sedgwick in the 1960s.  She is even recognized as the stylist behind Jackie O.

She was a trendsetter,  sharing her views with readers of Harper’s Bazaar as fashion editor (’37-’62), then at Vogue (’63-’71) as editor-and-chief and later as a consultant for the Costume Institute.

Her “Why Don’t You?” column at Harper’s Bazaar challenged women to live beyond their preconceived limitations and instead urged them to draw outside the lines.  Diana Vreeland challenged the traditional definitions of beauty,  success and society—all while living among New York’s elite.

I think what made Diana such an important influence on style was her own attitude about style.  She explained,  “The only real elegance is in the mind;  if you’ve got that,  the rest really comes from it.”  It is this self-confidence that no doubt catapulted her to great heights.

1) Photo by James Karales
2) Photo by Richard Avedon
3) Photo by Jonathan Becker


  1. I love this piece. Until today I have never heard of her, but she sounds like such an inspirational woman… and what a respectable and expansive career! (the photo of her on the sofa is absolutely priceless).

  2. What a great mention of DV. Btw The photographer for the first picture is James Karales.

    You should follow her on twitter:

    Or Facebook!

  3. The second photo’s photographer is actually Richard Avedon. Just fyi.

  4. hi alexis! i just love your name btw, it’s so pretty. . . thanks for stopping by my blog, yours is lovely = this article on diana vreeland, thank you, i learned something new today!
    xoxo ~ kristina

  5. Thank you for this ! Amazing lovely photographs and what a lovely topic! I had never heard of her until tonight – I also, love black and white photography!!

  6. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of her before. I really enjoyed reading this!

  7. I’ve heard her name, but really knew nothing about her. Fascinating story and *great* photographs. Love it!

  8. I just recently finished reading a biography about her–fascinating woman with a vivid imagination!

  9. I love this entry! Thanks for putting together such a great post on Fashion History. I love your new banner too!
    Shasie of Live Life in Style
    Enter My Perfect for Bloggers Giveaway!

  10. The Velvet Hammer says:

    She is my fashion hero and icon. She has a great book with tips, too.

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