Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lady in Red

Diana Vreeland, the Vogue editor who redefined post-war fashion for the style-savvy woman is remembered fondly for both her eye for design as well as her firey personality.

Vreeland was obsessed with the search for the perfect red & when having her apartment redecorated, told Billy Baldwin, “I want this room to be a garden — but a garden in hell.” Out of this arose the iconic Vreeland sitting room, "Garden in Hell."

[Vreeland in her Sitting Room]

[Sitting Room: Second Perspective]

Vogue Magazine editor Bettina Ballard believed the room to be "one of the most attractive atmospheres that I know," equating it to "an over-crowded Turkish seraglio on a rather elegant boat." Vreeland's artful clutter and various wall hangings were camoflouged by the wild reds and ornate flowers throughout the room. Ballard remembers "books, bibelots, calculated clutter, personal pictures [among them, sketches by Augustus John, Bébé Bérard, & Cecil Beaton of herself], & “treasures, many Scotch snuffboxes in horn & silver, are massed on tables, walls, & shelves looking as if one could never get around to seeing them all. A long-stemmed anemone stands in a long-stemmed vase. There are oriental divans against the wall covered with inviting cushions, & she dines at a table pushed against a divan with bright cushions propped behind her back. She presides on a big Indian print-covered sofa like a sultan’s favourite, before & after dinner, with everyone gathered on small chairs at her feet. She lives in an atmosphere of informal luxury confined in crowded quarters, in an aura of intimacy & mystery.”

Vreeland was a woman of eccentricities and intelligence. Her ascent to fame as the editor of Harpar's Bazzar and later Vogue Magazine, has proved a lasting influence on the world of style and design. Vreeland will certainly be remembered as the Twentieth century's greatest arbiter of style.

Undoubtedly, the images of her home's interior confirm that:

“You gotta have style. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it you’re nobody. I’m not talking about a lot of clothes.”
— Diana Vreeland

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