by admin on December 24, 2012

instead of taking my usual afternoon shopping expeditions, i’ve been curled up with my kindle reading a fascinating story about shopping, fashion, and women’s relationship to their bodies.  the story (EMPRESS OF FASHION by amanda mackenzie) is a biography of diana vreeland, and it reads like some combination of case history, novel, and fashion magazine….that is to say, riveting!

diana was born in 1903 in paris, the first daughter of a beautiful but narcissistic mother.  she felt ugly as a child and was rejected by her mother in favor of her prettier younger sister.  however, she was always fascinated by beauty. as a teen she decided to make herself over into an eccentric, compelling character of her own imagining.  as the editor of BAZAR for several decades, she became one of the most influential women in the fashion world of the 20th century.

here’s an interesting passage from the book’s introduction:  “there has been much fresh thinking about (fashion) as a phenomenon in academic circles….where fashion was once regarded by academics as too trivial for serious examination, or too mired in false conscious for feminist scholars, it is now being reinterpreted more subtly….leading to a reevaluation of those involved in it’s making.”

and truman capote wrote: “mrs. vreeland…was one of the great americans who had contributed more than anyone to improving the level of taste of the american woman.”

well, you’ve just got to read it for yourself.

glued to the book,



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