Fashion on Film

Diana Vreeland's Singularly Stylish World

This weekend, the MFAH screens a documentary devoted to fashion's first iconic editor.

By Tricia Gilbride April 19, 2013



Long before Anna Wintour, The Devil Wears Prada, and The September Issue, Diana Vreeland's editorial vison and enterprising personality defined the pages of Vogue. More than half a century after Vreeland was first immortalized on the big screen (Funny Face's Maggie Ascott is not-so-loosely based on her), a new documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, chronicles the life and career of the 20th century’s “Empress of Fashion.”

Vreeland got her start writing the occasionally controversial advice column “Why Don’t You?” for Harper’s Bazaar, before working her way up the industry and eventually landing the coveted title of Editor in Chief at Vogue. Her passionate and progressive editorial style (in her own words, "it has to have bite") brought the bikini to the United States, the sixties youthquake to high fashion, and thrived on celebrating unique beauty. Vreeland was famous for turning models’ unconventional attributes into their greatest assets. After she was fired from Vogue, Vreeland went on to work as a consultant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her flair for the dramatic revitalized the Costume Institute and turned the museum's yearly gala into the industry's biggest social event.

The film, directed by the wife of Vreeland's grandson, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, is a portrait of one of fashion’s greatest provocateurs told through archived interviews with the woman herself as well as friends and colleagues, including Richard Avedon, Diane von Fursternberg, and Anjelica Huston. It will be screened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston this weekend. The Friday 7 p.m. screening will feature a Q&A with Peter Speliopoulos, vice president for design at Donna Karan, Robert Turner, a Vogue editor and former assistant to Vreeland, and MFAH director Gary Tinterow.

WHEN: Friday April 19 at 5pm, 7pm; Saturday April 20 at 7pm

WHAT: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel; $9; $7 seniors & students

WHERE: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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