Diana Vreeland – The Eye Has To Travel
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 11th November 2012
A welcome return from the international film festival and proof that documentaries can be the most rewarding and captivating type of movie.
Those in the know about fashion will have heard of “the Empress Vreeland”, but even those of us who haven’t will not fail to be enthralled by the life she led. Born in Paris in 1903, raised in the belle epoque, young Diana was treated as her mother’s (so-named) ugly little duckling. Undaunted, the feisty fashionista thrived in New York in the roaring 20s, going on to become fashion editor at Harpers Bazaar, where her revolutionary attitude to the bikini and the blue jean marked an incredible career.
Vreeland tells much of the story in her own words through archive footage of interviews with the grande dame, and there are fascinating insights from other industry legends such as photographer David Bailey and film director Joel Schumacher.
The film is pieced together by her grandson’s wife, director Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who eschews sentimentality or familial bias to tell the forthright tale of a beguiling creature. It introduces us to the woman who discovered Twiggy, dressed Jackie O and provided Wallis Simpson with “the lingerie that brought down the throne”. Catch an audience with the Empress while you can.