Sunday, October 14, 2012

DV


"You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It's a way of life. Without it, you're nobody. I'm not talking about a lot of clothes."

In preparation for viewing the film The Eye Has to Travel, I checked out several books on (or by) Diana Vreeland. The more I examine the evidence, the more I see her as an immense genius, someone to bring on the 1960s as I knew them, right up there with the Beatles. And yes, I know what that means. It’s no exaggeration.

Men might not feel the same. But a girl who absorbed images of women from the 1950s could tell that something radically changed when DV took over Vogue.

There’s nothing I can really add to the conversation except what she means to me right now. Perhaps I was meant to read these works at this very moment, this particular harvest time.  She always operated with a half full glass, a formidable female past 50. Who else can teach such relentless optimism while entering the third act?

In one of her books, Jane Fonda described life as a play. The third act is when it all comes together, meaning roughly those last 30 years. Personally I am not in the third act yet, but I am contemplating it, I’m watching it in others. So much of what we know Vreeland for – the extraordinary years at Vogue and the development of the costume at the Met, that was all done in her 60s and beyond.

As an artist, you figure that such a career never ends. In theory, you just keep getting better. But fashion? Not so likely. Yet Vreeland kept raising the bar.

In the past few years I witnessed a lot of darkness and wanted to instinctively kick it out with no mercy, yet still entertaining some perverse guilt. Ms. Vreeland sets an example, a way to move on. She didn't complain. She hated negativity. She was never stuck in the past. Everything was fabulous. Sure, she had money and resources. But she had a gift, a frame of mind, to live and embrace what was right in front of her.


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