Birthday: July 29, 1906
Died At Age: 83
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Diana Dalziel
Born in: Paris, France
Famous as: Magazine editor, fashion journalist and special consultant
Quotes By Diana Vreeland
Spouse/Ex-: Thomas Reed Vreeland (m. 1924–1966)
father: Frederick Young Dalziel
mother: Emily Key Hoffman
siblings: Alexandra Dalziel
children: Frederick Vreeland, Thomas Reed Vreeland Jr.
Died on: August 22, 1989
place of death: Manhattan, New York, United States
Born as Diana Dalziel, Diana Vreeland was an American socialite, fashionista, columnist and editor associated with topnotch fashion magazines like ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ and ‘Vogue’. She was known for her gifted language, her perception on global fashion, her ability to coin terms and phrases that immediately caught the attention of her readers and painting a stunning picture of fashion and fantasy, in relation to the ever changing social scenario, with her words. Vreeland was discovered by editor Carmel Snow who gave her the chance to flourish in the field that had been her darling since the time she was growing up - fashion. Being a daughter of a wealthy socialite only helped Vreeland to cultivate the poise that she taught her readers for the rest of her life. On the top of it, getting married to a classy and even wealthier banker opened her to the kind of exposure that came handy in her career. Vreeland ran her column ‘Why Don’t You?’, which made her a fashion guru amongst the American housewives of the 60s, for about 26 years. She joined Vogue as an editor-in-chief before she became a consultant with the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vreeland changed the American fashion industry when it was going through a dull phase.
Childhood & Early Life
Diana Vreeland was born in Paris, France, to Frederick Young Dalziel and Emily Key Hoffman. Her mother was an American socialite. The family moved to America when the World War I broke out and settled in New York City.
Vreeland joined a dancing school and became a student of Michel Fokine. She performed in Anna Pavlova's Gavotte at Carnegie Hall. Her family was so famous in the American social circle that she once featured on Vogue as a socialite.
After getting married in 1924, she moved to London and danced with the ‘Tiller Girls’ there. She became an active part of the topnotch social circuit in London and opened her own lingerie boutique near Berkeley Square.
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After moving back to New York with her family, Vreeland’s publishing career started with ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ as a columnist in 1936. She was offered the job by Carmel Snow, the then editor, who liked the way Vreeland dressed.
She started her column in the magazine titled ‘Why Don’t You?’ in which she gave out quirky and sometimes really valuable fashion advices. She was famous for taking fashion seriously and openly disagreed with the American approach to fashion.
Throughout her time in the ‘Harper’s Bazaar’, Vreeland closely worked with fashion photographers like Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon and Alexey Brodovitch. For her brilliance in the matters of fashion and writing, she was soon made the editor of the magazine.
By 1960s, Vreeland’s position as an expert in fashion was well established in the American fashion circuit and she became the official fashion advisor of the first lady of that time - Jacqueline Kennedy. She advised her all through the campaign.
Owing to the fact that she was not paid enough at the ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ and was also not considered for an impending promotion, Vreeland joined Vogue magazine in 1962 and was soon made the editor-in-chief.
She enjoyed her social and professional status at Vogue and wrote beautifully descriptive fashion columns expressing the budding fashion scene of the 60s. She was a lover of originality, defying everything that was conventional and frozen in time.
In 1971, she was fired by Vogue and became a consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She is credited for organizing around 12 exhibitions during her career at the museum.
Vreeland’s role as the columnist in ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ is amongst one of her greatest works. ‘Why Don’t You?’ was a column that outlandishly changed the way American housewives used to dress and think. It ran for almost 26 years.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1924, Vreeland married a handsome Yale graduate banker, Thomas Reed Vreeland, who took her to Europe, which changed the way she used to feel and perceive things. They had two children: Tim and Frecky.
She died of a heart attack at age 85 at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York in 1989. The Diana Vreeland Estate was constructed to continue Vreeland’s legacy; it is maintained by her grandson and Frecky’s son.
A documentary film called ‘Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel’ was released in 2012. The film is based on her life, how she became a pioneer in the fashion industry and how her time spent with her husband in Europe made her into a fashionista.
The outrageous character of the fashion editor in the movie, ‘Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, is said to be based on Vreeland’s life.
She was one of fifteen American women presented to King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace in 1933.