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My Fashion Idol

March 6, 2014

From our Stylist Becky

There are many stylish people I greatly admire—model Kate Moss, TV host/model Alexa Chung, actress Kate Bosworth, and stylist Vanessa Traina, to name a few. I love the way these women dress. But there is no one I admire more than Diana Vreeland. To me, she is the founding mother of fashion editors.

Born in Paris in 1903, Vreeland grew up to be one of America’s most respected tastemakers. In 1936, she began a 26-year reign as fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar; during her subsequent nine-year post as editor in chief of Vogue (1962–1971), she was credited with reinventing the magazine. From 1972 until her death in 1989, she served as a special consultant to the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Witty and bold, Vreeland took risks, such as featuring a bikini in Harper’s Bazaar, and established trends that live on today. “Fashion must be the most intoxicating release from the banality of the world,” she said.

Prior to Vreeland, fashion was just clothing … a dress, a top, a pantsuit. But she saw things differently. She turned fashion into stories about lifestyle—reflections of who we are and what we do. Fashion became grand or mundane based on the tale she wanted to tell.

One only has to watch the stunning documentary about Vreeland, The Eye Has to Travel, to understand her impact on the world of fashion. A visionary, Vreeland was the first to use models who were “less than perfect”—one with a bump on her nose (Anjelica Huston), one with boyish looks (Edie Sedgwick), one who was super tall (Veruschka), and so on—and turn them into iconic fashionistas of their time. As Huston put it, “She made it okay for women to be outlandish and extraordinary.”
Vreeland had incredible style, panache, and such a way about her that she was often parodied in films. It is said that she was the person on whom they based the character of fashion editor Maggie Prescott (played by Kay Thompson) in the movie Funny Face.

Vreeland was always true to her vision of how something should look, and she always had a modern eye. Even as she grew older, she was still ahead of the curve—and, ultimately, ahead of her time. Because of her, I aspire to be true to my fashion vision and follow my heart to the ends of the stylish earth.

Who is your favorite fashion icon? Is there someone whose style you admire or whose outfits you look forward to seeing? Share with us in the comments section below.