Prior to reading D.V., my knowledge of Diana Vreeland and her personal history was extremely limited. I had an idea as to the scope of her career and influence at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, but knew nothing of her life. Furthermore, I never even realized Vreeland had penned a autobiography until my friend Alyssa loaned me a copy.
“You’ll love this,” she said, sliding the slim book across the table.
I have to say that I truly did. From chapter one, Vreeland all but reaches out to grab the reader by the lapels and firmly yanks him or her into the world of fashion and “the chic.” Vreeland is so assured and blithe that one can’t help but be carried along, absolutely powerless to resist. Here’s an excerpt from the very beginning which I think perfectly describes precisely that:
…I punched [Swifty] in the nose. He was quite startled. He picked up a china plate and put it under his dinner jacket to protect his heart. So I took a punch at the china plate!
I can certainly see how Vreeland’s voice could be off-putting to some, but sincerely: there is no point trying to struggle against Vreeland’s intoxicating personality. D.V. is two hundred and sixteen pages of whirlwind narrative, and deciding to read it is choosing to step into a gale-force wind.
One point that I feel must be made is that while D.V. was utterly compelling to me, it is by no means a literary sort of read. It’s pure puff, the written equivalent of a cloud of perfume — fun, fanciful and ephemeral. It is lovely for being that exactly, and nothing more.