“I believe in dreams. I think we only live through our dreams and imagination. That’s the only reality we really have.”
As part of the new FASH/ON FILM showcase at London Fashion Week, a special preview of Diana Vreeland ‘The Eye has to travel’ was screened at the Mayfair Hotel. This is how I found myself drinking champagne with fashion glitterati like Zandra Rhodes, Jaime Perlman and Grace Woodward, munching on the London Fashion Week snack du jour, Propercorn, to watch the documentary of the first and truly original fashion editor, Diana Vreeland.
First up was an introduction from the film’s writer/director and author of the book, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, whose husband is Diana Vreeland’s grandson. Although Lisa never met the enigmatic Diana, she was well-aware that there was much more depth and character to her, far beyond the caricature and the legend. Lisa’s aim was to celebrate the “fantasy installed in our heads,” by Diana Vreeland, which she believed to be her ultimate message.
The documentary chronicles her upbringing, the start of her career at Harper’s Bazaar all the way to the sacking from Vogue and the subsequent reinvigoration of the Costume Institute as a consultant for the MET. The film echoed Diana’s ever-changing passions for the new and the progressive. She appreciated the beauty in the strange and the flawed and understood the influences of pop culture – even featuring celebrities such as Mick Jagger and Lauren Bacall. Perhaps Diana understood the power of celebrity before anyone else, a legacy which is certainly true in these modern times and current fashion magazines.
The film is a heartfelt celebration of Diana’s achievements and her outlook on life. With interviews by the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Diane Von Furstenburg, Ali MacGraw and David Bailey you are given a sense of how truly visionary and important she was to people’s careers in the industry. She truly believed in people and championed their talents.
The overall tone of the film, however, was a positive one – you really get a sense of Diana’s attitude to life. It may have been rather fantastical and at times excessive, but her creativity and joie de vivre is incredibly infectious. This romp of a film was indeed beyond inspiring as I expected, but humorous and thought-provoking too.
The film Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel goes on national release from September 2012 and the exhibition ‘Diana Vreeland After Diana Vreeland’ opens at the Museo Fortuny in Venice from 9th March – 26th June 2012.