In 1982 Diana Vreeland graced the cover of New York Magazine, her red nails extended in mid expression, her quintessential bone necklace around her neck, and her signature confidence and vigor leaping off the page. The dynamic image was shot by Priscilla Rattazzi, and the accompanying article, written by Jesse Kornbluth, is a fascinating, perfectly-intact time capsule. It not only covers much of Mrs. Vreeland’s career and personal history, but also captures the moment — Mrs. Vreeland has just consulted on her twelfth show for the Met’s Costume Institute, the dinner for which would cost five thousand dollars a table, an impressive sum at that time. Even more fitting, the theme of the show was La Belle Époque, a gilded age that Mrs. Vreeland was not only intimately familiar with, but, along with the swinging ‘60s, held closest to her heart. It was also a moment when Mrs. Vreeland was (as usual) at the pinnacle of her public panache, yet had still to publish her autobiography. To read Kornbluth’s article today is to be transported back in time. It provides an intimate glimpse into Mrs. Vreeland's world.

Fashion-history buffs will delight in one more treat this time capsule has to yield: the article that follows The Empress of Clothes is entitled La Belle Epoque. It’s an illustrated piece on Mrs. Vreeland’s show at the Costume Institute, and was written by the then-fashion editor at New York Magazine — a young writer by the name of Anna Wintour.

Photograph by: Priscilla Rattazzi 


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