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Wanderlust. Diana Vreeland

“The best thing about London, is Paris” Diana Vreeland

A few weeks ago I walked for hours along the left bank with hairdresser Johnnie Sapong.

Our actress didn’t need us and we simply wandered.

I happened to spot a particularly fabulous edition of American Vogue from April 1968 which has been re-inspiring me ever since.

Veroushka (right) is on the cover and also has 3 stories inside. It’s a superb issue, full of iconic images; double page spreads on Ara Gallant’s hair, Lauren Hutton, Marisa Berenson, Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree and Twiggy , all plucked, dressed and edited by the legendary fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar (1936-1962) and American Vogue (1962-1971) Diana Vreeland…

Vogue Culture 1962-1971, the Diana Vreeland years.

Under Vreeland, Vogue was the template of how to combine culture, trailblazing ideas with an exciting mix of young photographers with fresh points of view and unusual looking ingenues. All of them groomed with the progressive, uncompromising eye of Vreeland. Below, with Marisa Berenson


She pushed the limits of style and imagination, raising the bar to a level that is rare-to non-existent today. Not bad going for a girl who was dismissed by her mother as being ‘an ugly monster’.

Hello, can we discuss Ara Gallant’s hair?  Twiggy left, Penelope right.

and can we discuss the make-up?

Veroushka was always an artist and loved to use herself as a canvas so it’s no surprise that there is no credit for make-up (she’d have done her own) or hair. Fashion shoots were more of an organic process back then (and when I started thankfully), no one decided exactly what was going to happen the next day. Why would you with teams like these? It’s no wonder that fashion pages are less ground-breaking and original today…

A week later Diana Vreeland cropped up again, with an invitation from Harpers Bazaar to see Lisa Immordino-Vreeland‘s documentary “The Eye Has To Travel’ and the evening was hosted by Harpers Bazaar‘s new editor Justine Picardie.

I was blown away. Truly.

I was reminded why I fell under the spell of fashion as a child as I saw image after image heralding the root of practically everything I love visually.  Diana Vreeland (below by Cecil Beaton) was a total rebel and in my opinion pretty punk in her attitude. Not an activist as such, but a total maverick, willfully uninterested in what was ‘the norm’.

Largely due to the inspiration of images I never knew the origins of in youth, I’ve ended up meeting and working with many of the icons featured in this gloriously tangential feast of unforgettable quotes, set against a backdrop of imaginative, pictorial perfection.

‘Hi Penelope, how are you?’ I said as I clocked eyes with Penelope Tree (we’d met before) who’d been in the row in front of me. Surreal…!

In the book ‘The Eye Has To Travel’ Penelope Tree recalls this time fondly:

“We all had a sense of what the sixties were about, but Mrs Vreeland had a different sense of what the sixties were, and she really stuck to her vision. And even though she brought out the best in people- she could see what they were up to and simulated their creativity and ideas – nonetheless, she wanted her sort of overview and her look to preside, and was very much in control of the way things were laid out”

Penelope Tree by Avedon below.

Vreeland & Chanel M-Up Scrapbook.

Below, Marsha Hunt of ‘Hair‘ the musical fame, by Patrick Lichfield, 1969. Vreeland said “The young black girls I see in NY today are the most attractive girls-from top to toe! Their hands are the most beautiful things on earth. These girls legs are extraordinary! They’re strong, they’ve got strength.”

Above Make-Up from left: Les 4 Ombres ‘Premier Regard’.  Illusion D’Ombre in Mirifique Perfection Lumiere in Ambre. Rouge Allure Lipstick in Evanescente. Ecriture de Chanel in Black. Eyelashes by Japonesque, Debu eyelash glue from Screenface.

Diana Vreeland’s Vogue discussed civil rights. Imagine.

“What I love about Twiggy is that she is a real cockney and a cockney is true to their people as I would be to my son. The proportion of her neck was the most beautiful thing I ever saw” D.V.

Above Twiggy by Avedon July 1967. Chanel Illusion D’Ombres.

Below Bert Stern shoots Twiggy March 1967. “Stern, we’d like you to go to Paris. There’s this little girl we’d like you to do a test of.” Which he did then DV said “How would you like to do the Paris collections (below) for us?”.

Chanel No 5 muse Catherine Deneuve photographed in 1966 by Avedon below. Chanel Lipgloss in 164, medium flared individual eyelashes Screenface, Chanel Rouge Allure in Evanescente

After her tenure at Vogue, Diana Vreeland worked at The Costume Institute in New York from 1972-1989.

“I had a marvellous life, I always stuck to my dreams” DV

Above photograph by Richard Avedon New York October 1958

Watch ‘The Eye Has To Travel’ trailer below!

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  1. Keely

    Loved this! you are both really inspiring. I saw the film a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it, made me realise not to give up on my dreams just because i turned 30!! Thanks Kay for your great website, I’m a big fan

    • kaymontano

      Thank you Keely, 30! Is that ALL. Vreeland was at Studio 54 lusting after Jack Nicholson in her 60′s… Good luck with your dreams.. X

  2. Ekaterina

    Thank you for this post! I watched the movie in London – my favourite city on earth, I am spending my holidays here for the 3rd time and nobody understands why :) But how can one not love London when right upon my arrival I’ve bought Times Out (when it wasn’t yet free)) and read about the documentary! I watched it at Curzon cinema, right off Piccadilly street, the best cinema I’ve ever been to. Loved every minute of the movie. Being both beauty editor and makeup artist I am so inspired by her personality! And that thing about: “The best thing in London is Paris” was the best )))

    • kaymontano

      You’ve caught the wanderlust Ekaterina and it’s great to hear. All the best to you!

  3. I saw the film and have the book. I agree… endless inspiration. What a woman.

  4. jaimee

    Absolutely love your blog Kay. It’s the only one I’ve found that’s really inspiring on many levels. Will be watching this film over the coming week, can’t wait! Xx

    • kaymontano

      Thank you Jamie, lovely of you to post & say this. Beauty for it’s own sake & M-Up for it’s products alone don’t interest or inspire me, this is my space to explore & be myself so it’s great that anyone else likes it too.

  5. I watched it at Curzon cinema, right off Piccadilly street, the best cinema I’ve ever been to. Loved every minute of the movie. Being both beauty editor and makeup artist I am so inspired by her personality!

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