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'Diana Vreeland' by Eleanor Dwight

May 9, 2011 |  7:04 am



I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the cover of the new edition of "Diana Vreeland" by Eleanor Dwight (April 2011) really jumps out at you. It’s a high-gloss shiny red that looks as if it were patent leather rather than paper stock (the picture below does not do it justiceDiana_vreeland_cover). It conveys " I’m rich and glamorous, look at me!” and somehow manages to be dignified at the same time. In many ways, its bold simplicity mimics the look Vreeland cultivated for herself.

What’s beneath the cover is pretty fabulous too. Dwight's book is full of striking pictures of both Vreeland and her work as creative director at Harper’s Bazaar, editor in chief of Vogue and special consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

Originally printed in 2002, the new edition has a preface by Andre Leon Talley, who was a close friend of Vreeland’s and spent many evenings reading to her at the end of her life. “Her utterances and narratives are still as beautiful and refreshing to me as the last drops of rain of a spring shower in Paris,” he writes.

 Little else in the book has changed from the 2002 edition. The author, who died in November 2010, was a fan of strong women who practiced the art of self-invention. In  addition to this illustrated biography of Vreeland, she wrote two books on Edith Wharton.

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo credit: Jonathan Becker, from "Diana Vreeland" by Eleanor Wright.  The book retails for $29.99.