If you thought Anna Wintour was the first Fashion Editor to instil fear into the loins of designers and wield her publishing power with an iron fist, then you’d be wrong. Diana Vreeland had been breaking models, designers and photographers hearts since she went from society doyenne to Harpers Bazaar columnist in 1937 and rose to Editor in Chief of Vogue in 1962. So, it’s no surprise the “original Devil Wears Prada” has inspired a film dedicated to the mythical, grandiose and incredibly fashionable life she led.
And who better to put together 86 years of fabulousness into a digestible and delightful hour and a half documentary than her filmmaker granddaughter-in-law, Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Flitting between Paris, London and New York, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, is told using archival recordings of Vreeland’s own booming voice and grandly-descriptive way, as it follows her with famous friends, fashion shows and on popular talk shows.
On seeing the film, there’s no way you’ll think of the fashion magazine business, and it’s history, in the same way. Vreeland was seminal. A genius. She discovered Twiggy, Edie Sedgewick and Lauren Bacall; cosied up with Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon; and before Miranda Priestly was a twinkle in Lauren Weisberger’s eye she was the inspiration for two characters in celluloid – the flamboyant fashion editor in Stanley Donen’s Funny Face and another fashion editor in William Klein’s Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? But it is Vreeland’s cheeky charm, ruthless decision making skills and incomparable taste in style, that make this film so addictive for any fashion fans. All we can ask now is, Anna, who?