DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL
Documentary about Diana Vreeland, fashion editor and columnist, born in Paris of an American socialite mother and conservative British father.
Review by Louise Keller:
"It's not about the dress; it's about the life you're living in the dress," says Diana (pronounced Dee-anna) Vreeland, iconic fashion editor and style-visionary, who always wanted to be where the action was. This fascinating documentary reveals that Vreeland (who died in 1989, aged 86) was an original: a dynamic woman with energy to spare and an infectious lust for life.
By the time we have heard her philosophies (through interviews with Vreeland herself, family members and many famous people with whom she worked), we have been seduced by her appetite for style, the outlandish, the beautiful and the exotic. The fact she considered the most important thing to avoid was being boring, tells you a lot about this vibrant woman with a taste for the extreme and appreciation for the art of vulgarity. Declaring herself to be 'as practical as Bloomingdales', she was neither rich nor beautiful, yet she was instrumental in creating beauty and wealth.
There's a great vitality about the ageless 80 year old woman in the interview, who speaks to George Plumpton, commissioned in 1983 to help write her memoirs. Based on records of the conversations that took place in her living room, which she calls 'a garden in hell', we intuitively know this is a woman who does not suffer fools gladly. Her angular features and strong nose may not be classically beautiful, but the inner beauty is clearly visible - Vreeland is a strong woman with a strong sense of self and a compelling vision that inspires.
Where did it all start for the woman who declares she did not learn anything at school but that the world was her education? Arrange to be born in Paris, she says and everything falls into place. Considered to be the ugly duckling of the family, hers was an exotic childhood in which everyone who came into the family home was exciting, including members of the famous Ballet Russe.
The winding path of her life story is told through wonderful anecdotes that include Charles Lindberg, Josephine Baker, Wallis Simpson, Jacqueline Kennedy and Jack Nicholson. Her association with Harpers Bazaar came as a result of being seen dancing at the St Regis; a column called Who Don't You followed, culminating with her role as fashion editor. She is credited for having discovered Lauren Bacall and was instrumental in making mannequins become personalities and personalities (such as Cher and Angelika Huston) becoming models. Vreeland's notion of enhancing the artifice of life and blending fiction with truth ('faction', she calls it) to make it more interesting is ripe for emulating.
The imagery from both Harpers Bazaar and Vogue is dazzling, offering every chance to be swept away by the fantasies offered on the page. Sacked from Vogue at age 70, Vreeland notoriously said: 'What am I supposed to do; retire?' As special consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she then created a costume museum, a three dimensional magazine that was joyously alive with music, art and vitality.
It was love at first sight when she met Reed Vreeland in 1924; theirs was a long and happy marriage. There are many surprises, including Vreeland's admission of shyness with her husband of over 40 years. It is easy to be enthused by Vreeland's passion - be it for a new trend, something beautiful or simply her belief in dreams and the ability to live through our dreams and imagination.
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DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL (G)
CAST: Documentary featuring Diana Vreeland
PRODUCER: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
DIRECTOR: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng
SCRIPT: Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Cristobal Zanartu
EDITOR: Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Frédéric Tcheng
MUSIC: Paul Cantelon
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 22, 2012