The “Allure” of Diana Vreeland


Diana Vreeland, the legendary 1960s Vogue editor, is popping up everywhere these days. The passion for the eccentric fashion doyenne and her visionary layouts clearly endures. The question is: will today’s fashion and fashion magazines hold the same allure in 50 years?

“Allure is a word very few people use nowadays, but it’s something that exists. Allure holds you, doesn’t it? Whether it’s a gaze or a glance in the street or a face in the crowd or someone sitting opposite you at lunch… you are held.” – Allure by Diana Vreeland

Forgive me. I’m obsessed with Diana Vreeland, the legendary Vogue editor and style visionary. And it seems as if I’m not alone. The recent release of Amanda Mackenzie Stuarts’s biography Empress of Fashion: A life of Diana Vreeland caps off a three-year period of veritable Vreeland-mania. In addition to countless recent tributes and editorial layouts devoted to her bold signature style; and a widely celebrated documentary and accompanying book by granddaughter-in-law Lisa Vreeland, The Eye Has to Travel, Chronicle books published a third edition of Vreeland’s Fashion Classic Allure, with a foreword written by designer Marc Jacobs. Clearly, we can’t get enough.


Images: William P. O’Donnell/The New York Times

All this nostalgia for the past has me wondering if there’s a kind of cynicism growing for the future of fashion.

 Vreeland’s daring take on style and her ability to connect the dots between what we wear and the larger world of history, art, film and literature is inspiring us now more than fifty years since she left American Vogue. The current state of fashion inspiration begs multiple questions: Is today’s world of celebrity, fast-fashion, brand building and product placement leaving us hungry for something more? Has the focus on buy, buy, buy finally rendered the medium of fashion meaningless to its more intelligent followers? And shouldn’t we have our own version of Vreeland by now?

Whatever the explanation, the fact is we’re enjoying a mid-century moment in fashion that is truly worth embracing. For those starving fashion lovers wanting to embark on a journey of Vreeland-mania all of their own, may I suggest, in my best Vreeland impersonation, “Why don’t you… Get hold of a copy of her best-selling volume, Allure and see for yourself.”


Images: William P. O’Donnell/The New York Times

Authored in the ’80s, it’s a magical stream of Vreeland-consciousness paired with the work of some of the greatest photographers of all time – Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst and Man Ray. Edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Allure also captures the 20th century’s most iconic cultural figures – Coco Chanel, Maria Callas, Greta Garbo, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger, Rudolph Nureyev and Audrey Hepburn.

As the great lady once said, Fashion must be the intoxicating release from the banality of the world.” So if you’re sick of flipping through yet another predictable style magazine makeover, join the legion of new fans currently enjoying Diana Vreeland’s timeless and witty allure.

Check out the trailer for Diana Vreeeland: The Eye Has To Travel.

Top Image: WWD



Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.