Diana Vreeland was someone who helped to define the fashion conversation of the 20th-century. An exhibition, titled “After Diana Vreeland,” is on display at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice. The collection shows how fashion is a way to observe and interpret the tastes and trends of contemporary society.
Vreeland was born in Paris in 1903 to an English father and American mother. Her family relocated to New York when she was young, but Europe would forever remain a pivotal part in the development of her fashion sensibilities. She rose through the scene as a sophisticated socialite, and was married in 1924.
In 1936, she was discovered by Carmel Snow, the then editor of Harper’s Bazaar, who saw her dancing at the St. Regis wearing Chanel. She began work at the magazine, and became their fashion editor in 1939.
In 1962, she moved to US Vogue, where she became editor in chief the following year. There, she revolutionized the magazine, defining the fashion conversation until she was fired in 1971.
She was then invited by Thomas Hoving, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to serve as a Special Consultant to the Costume Institute.
The exhibition “stresses the need today to decontextualise the many facets that go to make up her kaleidoscopic career and to reconnect them in a new reading of the multiple meanings underlying her now legendary professional and human experience.”
On display are garments which make up the history of 20th-century fashion, many of which are coming to Italy for the first time.
Included are designs from Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy worn by Vreeland herself, to Balenciaga from the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum, iconic creations by Saint Laurent from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent collection, and pieces from private collections and company archives with labels like Chanel, Schiaparelli, Missoni, Pucci, and costumes for the Ballets.
Diana Vreeland passed away in New York in 1989. At her memorial service, famed photographer Richard Avedon said, “Diana lived for imagination ruled by discipline. No one has equaled her.”
The exhibition runs through June 25th. For more information, visit their website here.