Another book post!
This time, the book I want to write about is D.V. by Diana Vreeland
It is the autobiography of am inspirational and fashion-forward woman who can place being fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and editor in chief of Vogue (US editions) among her accomplishments.
There’s no back-cover blurb to this, instead it’s on the back and front flap, and quite long, so here’s a small section of it:
“Peppering her glittering stories with knowing (and often outrageous) pronouncements, she ranges wide—from geishas to the incomparable art of Balenciaga, the genius of great servants, and her own reason for being absolutely certain that Chanel and the Duke of Windsor had once had “the romance of the world.”[…]Whatever her subject, you want her never to stop. Hers is a memoir like no other, and reading it is a pure pleasure.”
What drew me to read this book: Honestly? It featured in a couple of scenes in one of my favourite films, To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.
As a result I wanted to read it, and managed to find it on Amazon Marketplace for £3.50 including postage from Pennsylvania, USA. (I then promptly forgot about it, and had a nice surprise when it landed on the doormat a few weeks later!)
The first line in this book is “I loathe nostalgia.”
An autobiography that begins with a statement like that is bound to be a good one.
Though set in a bygone era, Diana’s narrative style brings such life and colour to her anecdotes that it’s as if everything happened yesterday. The book comes across as though she is writing to you as an old friend and bringing you up to speed on some of the adventures you missed out on hearing about the first time. I enjoyed this aspect of the book; sometimes autobiographies are written in such a remote way that they seem impersonal. D.V. gives the impression that you could sit down with Diana upon your first meeting, but talk as though you’ve known each other forever.
I felt that I learnt from this book, too. The fact that Diana was a ‘lady of leisure’ until age 30 makes me feel less insecure about the fact I’ve reached my late twenties without anything much to show for myself, achievement/career-wise. (So thanks for that, Diana.)
That aside, Diana’s stories encourage us to be more daring in our own lives, to live for the moment, live in the moment and soak up all the things that happen to us!
“To this day, anything physical or strange…I can usually pass it off by saying it was a very healthy experience.”“But I think when you’re young you should be a lot with yourself and your sufferings. Then one day you get out where the sun shines and the rain rains and the snow snows, and it all comes together.”“But don’t think you were born too late. Everyone has that illusion. But you aren’t. The only problem is if you think too late.”“Everything is new. At least everything is new the first time around.”“[…] nothing was frightening to me. It was all part of the great adventure […]”
The TLDR: Autobiography wherein a nostalgia-loathing fashionista brings her bygone era back to life.