Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman: The Bazaar Years, 1936–1962

Image of Diana Vreeland: The Modern Woman: The Bazaar Years, 1936-1962
Release Date: 
October 12, 2015
Reviewed by: 

Apparently there is an inexhaustible supply of material when it comes to the subject of Diana Vreeland. There is only one other name that comes to mind who can rival the amount of  ink devoted to a fashion personality and that is Christian Dior. Having read countless books dealing with the woman referred to as the “empress of fashion,” it becomes startlingly clear that she was endlessly captivating, inspiring, and prescient in so many ways.

Almost everyone familiar with the life and times of Mrs. Vreeland can tell you about “why don’t you?” but it takes the seasoned fashionphile to know that Diana Vreeland preached sun block, exercise, waist cinchers, and god knows what else over 50 years ago. The point is simply that without a doubt she was light years ahead of her time and that is undeniably proven when you open the book and there stands Diana Vreeland,  in a photo taken in the  mid to late 30s, looking impossibly chic then as she would today some 80 years later in that same outfit. Who else had the longevity, the wherewithal, and the presence to conjure and create the fashion that was so innate to DV?

This latest effort only serves as a further confirmation that DV was a zeitgeist and barometer of the times. No matter what has been said about Mrs. Vreeland, the one statement that constantly stays in my head is “give ’em what they never knew they wanted” and she sure did. Her brilliance is offered up again with this latest book. The reader should take into consideration that this was only the start of the much vaunted life and career of Diana Vreeland; there were many decades that followed.

Readers will be made keenly aware of the talents that were nurtured by Mrs. Vreeland. Many of these incredibly creative designers, photographers, stylists, and hair and make-up people had careers that outlived her in the world of fashion. This woman’s contributions were endlessly beneficial to the world and the business of fashion.

The saddest aspect of the book is that it demonstrates, illustrates, and forces us to wonder what has become of fashion publications today. Mrs. Vreeland was all about the fashion, and she wasn’t worried about the financial side of the business. While her approach might have been her downfall, she gave readers and fashion history a fantasy and a point of view that has so far not been rivaled and apparently died with her.

This is a must have, must read, must see book that can only delight those who revel in fashion. Alexander Vreeland reminds us all that his grandmother was indeed the high priestess of fashion. Thank you for this great souvenir and recollection of just how astoundingly and fashionably brilliant she was!