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Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreelandby Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
Synopses & Reviews
Born into a family of privilege, Diana Dalziel Vreeland grew up amid the fashionable of New York's Upper East Side. With a famously alluring mother and a classically beautiful sister, young Diana often felt isolated and unloved. But she was saved from her unhappy childhood by her audacious imagination as well as the grit and determination that would shape her extraordinary life.
Talent-spotted by legendary editor Carmel Snow in 1936, Diana joined Harper's Bazaar as a fashion editor, where her singular point of view and signature style quickly made her a major creative force in American fashion. Under her influence, American designers became chic during World War II, and with her pizzazz she inspired a raft of fashion talent on both sides of the Atlantic.
Passed over as successor to Snow, Diana did the unthinkable and accepted the title of editor-in-chief of Bazaar's archrival, Vogue. In Diana's Vogue, women were not only offered shockingly short skirts and silver hipster pants: even more radically, they were encouraged to embrace the free spirit of the sixties, to resist fashion orders from on high, and to use their own imaginations in re-creating themselves. When Women's Wear Daily asked Diana, "What is the function of a fashion magazine?" she replied, "To instruct when possible, to delight, to give pleasure, to bring to the reader what interests her. Everybody makes an appearance every day."
In 1971 Diana was fired from Vogue. She reluctantly accepted a new position for herself at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as Special Consultant to the Costume Institute, only to reveal a new dimension to her brilliance. Her first show, on the work of designer Cristobal Balenciaga, drew more than 150,000 people to the museum, and the show that followed smashed all the record books. The Metropolitan was stunned, and today's blockbuster exhibition was born.
In this first full-length biography of Diana Vreeland, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart portrays a visionary: a fearless innovator who inspired designers, models, photographers, and artists.
Vreeland reinvented the way we think about style and where we go to find it. As an editor, curator, and wit, Diana Vreeland made a lasting mark and remains an icon for generations of fashion lovers.
"Adored by some and thought abrasive and disagreeable by others, fashion icon Diana Vreeland and her psyche and cultural milieu are superbly deconstructed by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart (Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and Mother in the Gilded Age). Vreeland (1903 — 1989) was fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar and later the infamous editor-in-chief of Vogue during the tumultuous 1960s. Told she was ugly by her troubled and beautiful mother, Vreeland escaped into a private fantasy world. Her creation of an idealized image she called the Girl, coupled with a creative flair 'and the development of an idiosyncratic way with words,' propelled Vreeland into becoming one of the most influential tastemakers in American fashion. Photos by Richard Avedon, snapped around the world from the Arctic Circle to the Far East, paired with 'Youthquake' fashions modeled by Jean Shrimpton and Veruschka, exposed readers to new ways of seeing fashion and the world. Vreeland possessed that rare sense for the next 'it' object, person, or music style of the moment. 'She looked instead for trends, particularly those that played themselves out through fashion and she put her own stamp on the decade as she did so.' Stuart's biography is a tasty and erudite study of a complicated woman and her turbulent and colorful cultural life and times." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Diane von Furstenberg once called Diana Vreeland a "beacon of fashion for the twentieth century." Now, in this definitive biography by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, is the story of the iconic fashion editor as you've never seen her before. From her career at the helms of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, to her reign as consultant to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vreeland had an enormous impact on the fashion world and left a legacy so enduring that must-have style guides still quote her often wild and always relevant fashion pronouncements.
With access to Vreeland's personal material and photographs, critically acclaimed biographer Amanda Mackenzie Stuart has written the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at Diana Vreeland and her world—a jet-setting social scene that included Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Lauren Bacall, Penelope Tree, Lauren Hutton, Andy Warhol, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and the Kennedys. Filled with gorgeous color photographs of her work, Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland is an elegant and fascinating account of one of the most revered tastemakers of the 20th century.
About the Author
Amanda Mackenzie Stuart worked as a screenwriter and independent film producer for a number of years before publishing her first biography, the critically acclaimed Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and Mother in the Gilded Age. She lives in Oxford, England.
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