When Alexander Vreeland first set out to create something in his grandmother’s name, he wasn’t sure what it would be. “My grandmother always lived outside of the box. So we really wanted whatever we did to represent who she truly was. My father and uncle came to me about five years ago when we were going to take over her estate. One of the first things we wanted to do was get some of her books back into print and around that same time, my wife had also begun work on a documentary (Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel). When it was released, we came to find out there was a huge outpouring of people not only on the east and west coasts, but everywhere—and not just women. There were people all over the world who loved her. It was then that we realized how important her contribution to fashion was. When we finally set out to create a product in her name, the one thing that kept coming up again and again was fragrance. She loved fragrances. She was constantly burning candles and incense. And of course, during her time at the Metropolitan Museum, she would have perfume pumped through the air ducts for every exhibit—the first person to ever use fragrance in this way. It was revolutionary,” says Vreeland.
Self-invented fashion trailblazer Diana Vreeland first appeared on the scene in 1936 with her eyebrow-raising column in Harper’s Bazaar, “Why Don’t You.” Appealing to the daring, just-for-the-fun-of-it side of readers, Vreeland challenged women everywhere to live with zeal. “Why don’t you: Tie black tulle bows on your wrists? Rinse your blond child’s hair in dead champagne to keep it gold, as they do in France?” and “Have an elk-hide trunk for the back of your car?” These were only a few of her bold, imaginative ideas. Her readers not only did as she suggested, they did so in droves.
Vreeland was also a voice for the working woman far before it was fashionable. “She was very inspirational for women and really pioneered the idea of the beautiful, modern working woman. Before that, women had always felt like they had to give up something in their lives, but my grandmother’s attitude was that you didn’t have to give up anything; to hold a job you don’t have to give up the husband. And to have children didn’t mean you couldn’t have a career. She was ahead of her time. So, this new fragrance line captures that spirit.”
And, although he loves southern California, he says, “I don’t come nearly as much as I would like to. When I do, it is usually for work.” In the same way his legendary grandmother once said “The best thing about London is Paris,” Vreeland says, “The best thing about Southern California is the people. I love the ocean and the architecture and I love the people. I love the feeling when you get to Los Angeles. When you drive, there is a tremendously expansive feeling that doesn’t exist anywhere else. There really is no other place like it.”
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