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Legendary Editor and Fashion Icon Diana Vreeland on Display at Venice's Palazzo Fortuny

Posted: 03/21/2012 11:34 am

In the spring of 1936 Diana Vreeland put on a white lace Chanel dress and placed a bolero over it. She weaved red roses through her jet-black hair and dramatically rouged her cheekbones. As Vreeland walked through the St. Regis hotel, her daring look caught the eye of then-Harper's Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, who promptly hired Vreeland to work there. Vreeland eventually became a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar before going on to become editor-in-chief of Vogue and then a consultant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Portrait of Diana Vreeland by Priscilla Rattazzi, 1982 (detail) / Courtesy Musei Civici Veneziani

Now, the legendary fashion editor, who died in 1989 at 86, is the subject of an exhibition at Venice's 15th-century Palazzo Fortuny, on view through June 25. Titled "Diana Vreeland After Diana Vreeland," the show features tear sheets from Vreeland's days at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, as well as some of the fashion icon's ensembles. One case holds stacks of magazines. A group of green dresses -- the color was one of Vreeland's "obsessions" -- from Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, and Irene Galitzine, along with an 18th-century green gown are displayed in a glass box. Pieces by Chanel, Schiaparelli, Missoni, Pucci, and Balenciaga are also included. Perfumer Frédéric Malle even developed a special version of one of Vreeland's favorite scents, sandalwood, for the exhibition.

The fashion visionary was often ahead of her time, coining the term "Youthquake" in the 1960s and bringing an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition to the Met's Costume Institute in 1983. It's only fitting that this time, Vreeland gets the museum spotlight.

Click on the slide show to see highlights from "Diana Vreeland After Diana Vreeland," on display at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice through June 25.

-Ann Binlot, ARTINFO

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