Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Eye Has to Travel

Chilly pyjama weather has well and truly hit London, which means two things: POPLIN pyjamas, obviously, and the cinema. And what a cinema the Hackney Picture House is!? Spectacularly big and comfortable! And showing Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel which is a sheer delight.

 The documentary cuts together old footage and images that glide across the screen like a digitalised version of a clunky, lecture hall slide show; and amuses with Vreeland's more-is-more approach to the aesthetic and emphatic mode of speech.

 Everyone who knew her (bar her children perhaps) professes to have been invigorated by her company, her sheer presence, and an hour or so in the cinema with her has much the same effect. 

Vreeland was full of witty, facetious and esoteric responses to the world, but my favourite was her attitude to beauty: make the most of your faults. If one has a long nose, celebrate it! Be photographed in profile! A little taller than is conventionally "feminine"? Wear skyscraper heels! 

She had a sincere appreciation of variety and individuality. And the people she styled and featured in her magazine (she was editor of Harper's and then Vogue) always looked like themselves, not a version of anybody else. It truly is a liberating way to think about fashion and about beauty. 

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