The Divine Mrs. V

Diana Vreeland, once upon a time, the doyenne of Harper’s Bazaar, wrote a column for many years entitled “Why Don’t You . . .?” and she spoke about fashion, elegance, style, and home design with wit and flair.

I literally couldn’t stop tweeting about her and all her fiery quotes when I discovered her, late as it was that I discovered her! And usually when that happens, I have to spread the word (as follows)… and pardon me for this copy intensive post, but I’m really taken with her and the columns…

I’ve since read a few of her pieces, which are brilliant. The font used in the magazine at the time was a fashionable slant, breaking many magazine layout rules at the time.

“Mrs Vreeland chartered new courses. She would throw out so many startling and original lines! Each was like a little theatrical sparkler.”

Remember, this was all written in the 1930s…

One of Vreeland’s “Why Don’t You?” columns for Harper’s Bazaar

One of Vreeland’s “Why Don’t You?” columns for Harper’s Bazaar

Why Don’t You . . .

  • …Use a gigantic shell instead of a bucket to ice your champagne?
  • …Remember how delicious champagne cocktails are after tennis or golf? Indifferent champagne can be used for these.
  • …Put all your dogs in bright yellow collars and leads like all the dogs in Paris?
  • …Travel with a little raspberry-colored cashmere blanket to throw over yourself in hotels and trains?
  • …Bring back from Central Europe a huge white Baroque porcelain stove to stand in your front hall, reflected in the parquet?
  • …Have a row of white pots on your window-sill with orange and brown nasturtiums trained into pyramids around little cone-shaped trellises?
  • …Have a yellow satin bed entirely quilted in butterflies?
  • …Revive the old-fashioned hat tree — this time a white lacquer pole topped with ostrich feathers of carved wood, or a black and gold palm tree — most useful in a bathroom to hold your clothes?
  • …Put an enormous deep sofa at one end of a large studio room? Over this drape high on the wall a tremendous canopy of yards and yards of material — copying your whole effect from the theatrical tapestries of Venice?
  • …Tie an enormous bunch of silver balloons on the foot of your child’s bed on Christmas Eve?
  • …Paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys’ nursery so they won’t grow up with a provincial point of view?
  • …Do your closet shelves in immaculate white organdy, pleated, with Lubin’s scented pink flannels wrapped around your things?
  • …Have a private staircase from your bedroom to the library with a needlework carpet with notes of music worked on each step — the whole spelling your favorite tune?
  • …Cover a big cork bulletin board in bright pink felt, banded with bamboo, and pin with colored thumb-tacks all your various enthusiasms as your life varies from week to week?
  • …Paint every door in a completely white house the color of a different flower — and thereby give each room its name?
  • …Realize, realize the return of black, and black and white, in decoration? It is of tremendous importance. Use it whenever you can.
  • …Have a room done up in every color green? This will take months, years, to collect, but it will be delightful — a melange of plants, green glass, green porcelains, and furniture covered in sad greens, gay greens, clear, faded, and poison greens?

 Even today, this column would be fresh. 

Vreeland in her Billy Baldwin designed “Garden in Hell” apartment

Vreeland with one of the exhibits she curated for the Costume Institute in 1973


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One thought on “The Divine Mrs. V

  1. […] Diana Vreeland at the Costimue Institute, 1973. Image: Kat-Esque […]

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