Vreeland
Diana Vreeland in her famous red living room

Coco, Twiggy, Anna: There are many larger-than-life couture personas, but few are as fun as fashion writer, editor and icon Diana Vreeland.

Long loved for her eccentric red living room and pithy bons mots (“Blue jeans are the most beautiful thing since the gondola”), the late, great Vreeland now gets the cinematic treatment in a new documentary that hits theaters today.

The Eye Has to Travel tells the story of Vreeland’s life and career, as well as that of 20th-century fashion as a whole, moving from belle epoque Paris through glitzy 1980s New York.

Through it all, it’s clear that Vreeland both informed and resisted the trends. Take, for instance, her first job at Harper’s Bazaar, where she penned a column called “Why Don’t You?” in which she quite sincerely instructed dutiful housewives to do things like rinse their blond children’s hair “in dead Champagne to keep its gold” or “have a white monkey-fur bedcover mounted on yellow velvet.” Or consider her final work as a curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she commissioned wildly controversial 18th-century wigs.

Alternating between juicy interviews (with style greats like Anjelica Houston and Diane von Furstenberg) and footage of Vreeland herself, The Eye Has to Travel gives unprecedented insight into the mind of a legend.

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