Fragrances fill the senses with the mysterious
When your grandmother is Diana Vreeland – a fashion legend known for her groundbreaking and influential work at Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum, how do you pay tribute to her? This was the enormous task Alexander Vreeland faced five years ago, when he took over running his grandmother’s estate. After much consideration, Vreeland decided to launch Diana Vreeland Parfums, a luxury five-scent collection, which debuted in Paris in September. I sat down recently with Vreeland at Neiman Marcus, Chicago, to discuss his grandmother’s legacy and the new line of fragrances. The following is an edited transcript.
Diana Vreeland ruled fashion for decades. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue in the 1960s, after a long tenure at Harper’s Bazaar that begin the 1930s, but she partied like a rock star all the way through to the 1980s. People loved her wit, sense of humour, and charm, even more than they liked her ‘fabulous’ personal style. In short, think of a nice version of Anna Wintour, only more influential and actually liked. She advised First Lady Jackie Kennedy on style and fashion; allegedly discovered Lauren Bacall and Twiggy; and was friends with everyone (from Wallis Simpson to Yves. St. Laurent, Valentino, Begum Aga Khan, Andy Warhol, Coco Chanel, Jack Nicholson, and people in-between). She lived life with exuberance, and always with a perfect witticism on her lips.
Now the legendary Divine Mrs V, who was famous for her dictated sometimes comical typewriter-written letters, lives on via a new range of perfumes.
She taught me that there is no compromising on quality, so when we started, we told [International Flavours & Fragrances] that there was no limit to what they could spend. We wanted the finest of ingredients, the best — the way she did things.
Diana Vreeland enjoyed a lifelong passion for scent and was known to inject pillows with perfume. “She lived in an olfactive house with candles, incense burning, potpourri. It was a world of fragrances, always changing,” said her grandson Alexander Vreeland. The fashion icon was also a consultant to the MET’s Costume Institute and insisted that perfume seep out of the air conditioning ducts during exhibitions.
A collaboration with International Flavours & Fragrances, the unisex line of perfumes are all named after Vreeland’s favourite expressions such as ‘Perfectly Marvellous’ and ‘Simply Devine’. They go on sale today at eleven Neiman Marcus locations and New York’s Bergdorf Goodman store.
The collection marks just the start of a cosmetics line for the Vreeland brand – which is under Alexander’s control. “The fragrances will continue to be the heart of it all, but we have an opportunity in all categories of beauty”. Lipstick? “Next year” he commented.
More about these fragrances, soon here on Yakymour…