The documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel is now at The Esquire Theatre. Diana Vreeland was a famous and extremely influential fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar from 1937 to 1962 and editor-of-chief at Vogue from 1963 to 1971. I attended this documentary about a woman who acted as a guru in the women’s fashion world even though I rarely give much thought to women’s clothes, or for that matter men’s clothes, even though I wear them. When it comes to matters of style, I appreciate well-designed cocktail glasses and elaborate swizzle sticks; sleek blonde furniture, the more modular the better; old stereo components; and 1950s album covers with photographs of jungle imagery, spaceships, or people enjoying cocktails. Where men’s clothes are concerned, I like vintage skinny ties and porkpie hats. That’s a short and unimpressive list, but nonetheless I enjoyed Diana Vreeland.
Partly that’s because I’m a sucker for documentaries, and this was a well-made one that fully revealed Vreeland’s vibrant personality. During the 1960s, when other editors debated whether to connect with the youth culture, Vreeland plunged headfirst into what was happening. Here she comes across not as opportunist but as someone who truly embraced the wild energy of that period. And while there were people around her who made a lot more money, on her modest salary and her so-so looks she became a sort of rock star whose “work” was extremely creative. Her discoveries included Edie Sedgwick and Lauren Bacall; Jackie O was a fashion advisee; and her friends included, well, rock stars, among them Mick Jagger.
What set Vreeland apart from other people was her extreme openness. In her mind everything overlapped; somehow she connected to fashion things like surfing, horses, and planes that did or didn’t fly right above her when she was a child. At the beginning of the movie I thought we were worlds apart, but by the end I felt differently. Like many people I’m a fan of sixties pop culture, including pop music, and this movie showed me how the fashion world intertwined with that, especially in Diana Vreeland’s head.
If you’re curious what else is showing at the Esquire, here’s their website: www.esquiretheatre.com. Also, be aware that Gaslight Property has several properties within walking distance of the Esquire, including Tudor Court Apartments; 3405 Telford, which is above Graeter’s; and the Jonathan Apartments at 451 Ludlow. You can call 513.861.6000 today to set up an appointment to look at these spaces or any of the other apartments Gaslight Property has in greater Cincinnati.