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Diana Vreeland has been called the fashion editor of the twentieth century. An epic self-mythologizer, she had an incredible aura of glamour, a great eye, and a genius for life. Diana Vreeland reveals the growth of her professional prowess and gives an account of her personal history, at the same time as it brings to life Mrs. Vreeland's pizzazz, humour, and flamboyant personality. A dynamic cast of characters accompanies Diana Vreeland's story. There are more than 300 illustrations, photographs, and drawings, many by the best fashion photographers of her time such as Louise Dahl Wolfe, Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, and Brassai. Through her work Diana knew Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and Oscar de la Renta. In the seventies a new wave of young talent came into her life - Andy Warhol, Fred Hughes, Mick and Bianca Jagger. She was friendly with Truman Capote, taught Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis how to dress for her role as First Lady, and was interviewed for her autobiography by George Plimpton. The fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar from 1937 to 1962, Diana Vreeland first shook things up with her Why Don't You column. Later, as the editor in chief of Vogue from 1962 to 1971, Diana Vreeland became famous for her startling style - sheathing women in jungle print underwear, wrapping their heads with leopard scarves. She operated out of her red lacquered office with a leopard-print rug, smoked continually, and lunched on peanut butter and jelly and a shot of scotch. At the height of her power, she was fired from Vogue, and replaced by an editor who had worked under her. In 1972, Diana returned to center stage for the final act of her life at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute as its Special Consultant, a job she invented. She masterminded costume extravaganzas and contributed to the new age of blockbuster exhibitions in which museum attendance soared and people poured into the galleries as never before.
Eleanor Dwight is the author of several biographies on women including Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life and The Gilded Age: Edith Wharton and Her Contemporaries. Her most recent book is Tie Breaker: Jimmy Van Alen and Tennis in the 20th Century. She lives in New York City.