Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue (she died in 1989) now has a line of fragrances in her name. The brand was created by her grandson, Alexander Vreeland. All scents are named after favorite Vreeland exclamations, like Absolutely Vital, Perfectly Marvelous, and Simply Divine.
MIRROR MIRROR met Alexander Vreeland in Amsterdam, Holland, where he just visited the tiny village Vreeland. “The Vreelands moved in 1637 from Vreeland to New York. Twelfth generation,” explains Alexander Vreeland.
Is there something of Diana’s character in the fragrances?
“In designing the brand I wanted to take two sides of my grandmother. Her passion for colors, and also her use of words. Those two elements… the words … it was such fun! The name Absolutely Vital came quickly. There are a lot of expressions she used, I went trough all her books. In my computer I have many quotes of her, and I keep looking for them. I wanted to imbue as much of her in de perfumes as I could.”
From words to smell, wasn’t that hard?
“We just started with different ideas, and finished up with five fragrances that we really love, and they are the beginning of a collection. Simply Divine is a tuberose by Clement Gavarry, it’s the most popular fragrance. Outrageously Vibrant is a chypre-floral composition, signed by Carlos Benaim. Extravagance Russe was created as homage to my grandmothers love of Orientalism. It’s a warm, modern fragrance with amber.”
Is it true that your grandmother, during her tenure as a special consultant of the Costume Institute at the Met, once organised an exhibition and sprayed perfume everyday?
“Yes, I think it was a Russian expo, and the perfume must have been Cuir de Russe by Chanel. Scent in a museum, it was the first time ever.”
Very striking are both the bottles and packaging, so colourful!
“That was my idea, but what I first did was all wrong. It looked cheap. Then Fabien Baron looked at it and made it really sophisticated. We added the tassel for fun. The top of the box has the same colour as the tassel. Inside the box are quotes by grandmother.”
Recently the sixth scent was launched, is this the last one?
“No! We are just starting, we are getting up to 12 or 15! There is also a body crème and new products are coming up. I think we can go into all areas of the beauty world, like red lipstick and red nail polish.”
Gee, you can open a whole shop within a while!
“Ha, that won’t happen.”
Let’s talk about your style…
“I was brought up with very classic elements. My mother always bought me navy sweaters, Lacoste shirts and desert boots. So all of the elements I grew up with are all very classic and so to this day my favourite is grey woollen suit (Vreeland is wearing one by Prada) and simple broadcloth shirts, classic shoes and so on. My taste has always been for very classic things.”
Has your grandmother been an influence on your style?
“She has never never told me how to dress, or pushed me in a certain direction in terms of clothes. She was more a force in helping me find what I liked in things. She was never somebody who said, you have to do this or do that. What was so wonderful about her is that she was very inspiring to help me find my own voice in my life. I never thought I was going into fashion I think that was the last thing I was going to do and then all of a sudden, 30 years ago things come together and I became head of communication for Ralph Lauren, a wonderful period and fascinating experience.”
Do you follow fashion?
“I love what Miuccia Prada does. I think Prada is the most exiting and interesting company today: the creativity, ideas, leadership, sophistication, the elegance. I can really relate to this.”
All fragrances: prices from: €110.00 100 ml. Diana Vreeland Body Crème € 95. You can find them here: www.skins.nl