I love Patience Crabstick’s Friday Reading Assignment posts. They inspire me to write more about what I read, although to be honest, my reading list is not nearly as lofty as Patience’s. She is currently working on a Fifty Classics Project while I tend to read well, nothing that highbrow. For the last few months, I’ve been reading what Edie is reading, partially to keep tabs on what she’s reading and partially because she hands me books she wants to discuss with me. I keep intending to write about at least some of these books – they are not all The Fault in Our Stars and The Hunger Games – but first is a book I recently shared with her. It’s one of my all time favorites – D.V. , Diana Vreeland’s autobiography.
I first discovered D.V. in college – as required reading along with Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” and Lee Iacocca’s “Iacocca: An Autobiography” for a class I was required to take. The pairing of those three strikes me as unusual today as it was twenty something years ago. D.V. instantly became one of those books I’ve gone through multiple copies of, handing them out to people insisting they read it. This past spring Edie was carrying around a book about Coco Chanel as research for a paper she was writing. My girl has always had a strong sense of style, expressing opinions on her wardrobe at an age as early as 8 months old. She’s also an advanced reader, so finding books that challenge her with subject matter that’s appropriate can be a bit of a challenge. I thought D.V. would fit the bill while explaining where at least a small portion of my inspiration for life comes from. At the very least, I thought the image on the inside of the back cover of my copy of Mrs. Vreeland in her office at Vogue would speak my girl, who has a leopard print rug in her room.
Diana Vreeland is a fashion icon. A New York socialite, she lived in Europe for a time before moving back to the states in the 1930’s when she began working for Harper’s Bazaar. She left to join Vogue in 1962 where she became Editor in Chief in 1963. After being fired from Vogue in 1971, she moved on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was a consultant for their Costume Institute. Her memoir, D.V. is written in a breezy conversational tone where the reader has the impression the author is sitting right there chattering away. My favorite style to be honest. She name drops, she skips around from topic to topic, she is witty, she does not let the truth get in the way of a good story – “why not make a story more interesting?”. She counts among her friends Wallis Simpson, Coco Chanel, Andy Warhol, Jack Nicholson and more. The original fashion editor turned personality, Diana Vreelend famously said, “There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself”. She takes credit for helping Charles Revson developing a quick drying nail varnish – quite honestly, that chapter never fails to inspire me to paint my toenails red. And my bottle of Revlon Red truly is the one that lasts the longest without chipping.
Diana Vreeland was a character full of style, class and insouciance – qualities I both adore and aspire to. She left an indelible mark on the world. Her memoir is a fabulous read.