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