Editor’s legacy is in vogue

Los Angeles Times - - IMAGE - BY BOOTHMOORE

She “dis­cov­ered” ac­tress Lau­ren Ba­call, rec­og­nized the bikini as “the most im­por­tant thing since the atom bomb,” ad­vised Jac­que­line Kennedy Onas­sis on mat­ters of style and helped women nav­i­gate nearly 40 years of change in the 20th cen­tury by giv­ing them a pow­er­ful point of view in her mag­a­zine pages.

And now, al­most 26 years af­ter her death, the legacy of fash­ion editor Diana Vree­land is still very much alive, thanks in no small part to her fam­ily.

In 2012, she was the sub­ject of the doc­u­men­tary film “The Eye Has to Travel,” di­rected by grand daugh­ter-in law Lisa Im­mordino Vree­land. In 2013, her spicy words were pub­lished in “Diana Vreel and Memos: The Vogue Years,” with a fore­word by grand­son Alexan­der Vree­land, who ad­min­is­ters her es­tate. And last year, great­grand­daugh­ter Caro­line Vree­land, an L.A.-based singer-song­writer with a sul­try online mu­sic video, emerged as a new It girl on the fash­ion and party scene, keep­ing the Vree­land name fresh for the 21st cen­tury.

Diana Vree­land also re­mains a touch­stone in fash­ion, cited by Marc Ja­cobs as in­spi­ra­tion for his hy­per-fab fall 2015 col­lec­tion and run­way set, a re­pro­duc­tion of the fa­mous liv­ing room she called “a gar­den in hell.” And dur­ing the Academy Awards in Fe­bru­ary, fash­ion il­lus­tra­tor Don­ald Robert­son brought Vree­land back to life in a se­ries of draw­ings for Harper’s Bazaar, where he imag­ined her hob­nob­bing with present-day stars on the red car­pet.

Vree­land’s cult of per­son­al­ity also lives on in a col­lec­tion of fra­grances. Diana Vree­land Par­fums launched in Septem­ber with six scents and added a sev­enth for spring, an iris oud named Dar­ingly Dif­fer­ent.

“My grand­mother changed history,” Alexan­der Vree­land said over iced tea at Neiman Mar­cus Bev­erly Hills when he was in town in May to launch the new scent. “The doc­u­men­tary my wife did was a turn­ing point. We could see the res­o­nance of my grand­mother was far broader than we thought and more in­ter­na­tional.... The ques­tion for me then was, ‘is there a prod­uct we could do that could be right for this brand, and could this be a brand?’

“We chose fra­grance be­cause my grand­mother had le­git­i­macy in it. A lot of sto­ries about her talk about fra­grance. When she was at Vogue, for ex­am­ple, you’d get off the el­e­va­tor and you could smell her can­dles all the way down the hall­way. And she used to pipe fra­grance through the air con­di­tion­ing ducts at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art.” (Diana Vree­land was a spe­cial con­sul­tant at the Met’s Cos­tume In­sti­tute from1972 un­til her death in 1989. She helped cre­ate sev­eral mem­o­rable ex­hi­bi­tions there, in­clud­ing “The Glory of Rus­sian Cos­tume” and “Ro­man­tic and Glam­orous Hol­ly­wood De­sign.”)

Alexan­der Vree­land, who had worked for 12 years in the lux­ury busi­ness at Gior­gio Ar­mani, spent two years de­vel­op­ing the fra­grance brand with the French firms IFF and France Labs — a process that in­cluded sto­ry­board­ing ideas and smelling hun­dreds of sam­ples. The re­sult­ing fra­grances play on Diana Vree­land’s pas­sion for color (who can for­get her fa­mous say­ing, “pink is the navy blue of In­dia”?) and­her play with words (“a lit­tle bad taste is like a nice splash of pa­prika” is another no­table zinger).

Per­fectly Marvelous is a heady jas­mine and Ab­so­lutely Vi­tal a near thys and alwood. “My grand­mother had this pot of san­dal­wood oil on her makeup ta­ble, and she would dab it be­hind her ears be­fore she went out,” Alexan­der Vree­land re­called.

Ex­trav­a­gance Russe is an Ori­en­tal that pays homage to the Rus­sian ex­hi­bi­tion at the Met. “She wanted the czar and cza­rina’s clothes, but the Rus­sians re­fused to lend them. So she and Jackie [Onas­sis] flew to Moscow to sit down with the min­istry of cul­ture,” he ex­plained. “They ended up get­ting ev­ery­thing they wanted.”

Out­ra­geously Vi­brant is a gour­mand fra­grance, mean­ing you can ac­tu­ally eat it. (“I can spray some in your ice tea,” he of­fered. I de­clined.) It’s a com­bi­na­tion of cas­sis and patchouli that Vree­land said is a top seller in Europe at Co­lette and 10 Corso Como.

Sim­ply Di­vine is a tuberose that also uses the stem of the rose, and Smash­ingly Bril­liant a sporty cit­rus with le­mon and berg­amot that’s inspired by Vree­land’s love of Capri.

The fra­grances come in col­or­ful bot­tles de­signed by Fa­bien Baron that are em­bel­lished with silk tas­sels and the ini­tials D.V. Boxes are lined with some of the fash­ion icon’s mem­o­rable quotes. Also avail­able: a body crea­mand can­dles.

Next up for the Vree­land canon is a book about her 26 years at Harper’s Bazaar, “Diana Vree­land: The Bazaar Years, 1936-1962,” out in Oc­to­ber. “It will show a dif­fer­ent facet of her legacy, how she was so re­spect­ful of women.... Even though there was a lot of nu­dity, it was never in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” her grand­son said of her im­agery in the mag­a­zine. “Fash­ion moved from ball gowns to streetwear and she was right in the mid­dle of it. Women were com­fort­able in their bod­ies for the first time, and that evolv­ing role is very im­por­tant.... Mov­ing women into bathing suits and caf­tans, it’s a ma­jor body of work.”

Another fra­grance is to launch for fall and pos­si­bly bath prod­ucts af­ter that, Vree­land said. But there is a limit to­his vi­sion. “Idon’t see this be­ing an ap­parel col­lec­tion,” he said. “We’ve only been in stores eight months. The goal is to be good at cer­tain things and to get peo­ple see­ing what we’re do­ing.”

booth.moore@latimes.com

Diana Vree­land Par­fums

A COL­LEC­TION of per­fumes pays trib­ute to leg­endary fash­ion editor Diana Vree­land with a bright take on her pas­sion for color.

Ge­orge Hoyningen-Heune

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