October 6, 2012


Smoke, smoke that Ciggie in her office. Courtesy photo


Born as Diana Dalziel in Paris. She married Thomas Reed Vreeland. He died in 1966. Here is some Background. Diana Vreeland was the eldest daughter of American socialite mother Emily Key Hoffman and British father Frederick Young Dalziel. Hoffman was a descendant of George Washington’s brother as well as a cousin of Francis Scott Key. Diana was also a distant cousin of Pauline de Rothschild. Vreeland has one sister, Alexandra (1907-1999). She married Sir Alexander Davenport Kinlock. 12th Baronet (1982). Hey, maybe I’m one of those “Baronets” – you never know, maybe I was the 13th Baronet.

The Vreelands moved to Albany, NY and raised their two sons. Then they moved to Regent’s Park, London. Diana operated a lingerie business near Berkeley Square. Some of the clients included Wallis Simpson and Mona Williams. Not to - be missed was Diana – as she was one of fifteen American women presented to King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace on May 18, 1933. Diana and her husband left England for New York – where they lived for the remainder of their lives. In the movie that is now playing “The Eye Has to Travel” is on screens around the World. She went to work for Harper’s Bazaar in 1937. Not as a designer but a Fashion Editor.

Vreeland tracked down Actress Lauren Bacall in the nineteen forties. In the movie/documentary, you will see on the Harpers’s Bazaar cover the picture of Lauren Bacall posing near a Red Cross office. It was Vreeland’s decision. She said: – “ It is an extraordinary photograph in which Bacall is leaning against the outside door of a Red Cross blood donor station. She wears a chic suit, gloves, a cloche and long waves of hair falling from it.” Vreeland took fashion seriously. Here is one of her takes about swimwear – “The Bikini is the most important thing since the atom bomb!” She detested “Strappy high heel shoes.” If she thought that was bad – she would have hated today’s half naked people running around on the street. The dresses today hardly hide the Butt.

Vreeland’s new apartment in New York was painted in gaudy red. Bill Baldwin decorated her apartment. Diana said: - “I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell!” Well- she sure hit the spot on that – at least the hell part. There was another room – a Kitchen. It is said that the maid didn’t show up one day. And Diana had to go into the Kitchen. She opened the door – and screamed – “Oh My God – it’s white!” She quickly left the pots and pans. And, probably sent someone to bring her some food from outside.

Vreeland was also portrayed in the film ‘Infamous’ (2006). And she was portrayed in the film ‘Factory Girl’ (2006) – and now showing is her life in the fantastic document: Diana Vreeland:The Eye Has to Travel(2012).

She was lauded in an article about social climbing in The New Yorker. And she should know! She said: “ I Moved to New York because I have to be seen!” There was a 1964 film (Who Are You, Polly Maggo?). The film director confirmed the outrageous character was based on Vreeland. In the 1941 musical “Lady in the Dark” by (Moss Hart, Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin) - the character of Alison Du was based on Vreeland.

Yes, she was a little high faluting, but an amusing and entertaining personality. She was high on the list of “American Fasionistas.” Not only was she the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, she also worked as fashion editor at ‘Vogue’. And, oh yes – she was also the head of the glamorous costumes department at the Metropolitan Museum.

As you can see in the picture – her offices were almost as cluttered as her apartment was. Yes – she was “Important” – and she lets you know with remarks like this one: - “Look. You have to tell people. No one wants to do it themselves-they want direction and to follow a leader!” – and she was good at giving everyone directions.

“This movie is a master movie that is all about being the Star of the Big City. And it is hugely enjoyable. I would not pass up this screen goddess. I plan to see it again!”


RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))



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