Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years

A look behind the scenes at Diana Vreeland’s Vogue, showing the legendary editor in chief in her own inimitable words. When Diana Vreeland became editor in chief of Vogue in 1963, she initiated a transformation, shaping the magazine into the dominant U.S. fashion publication. Vreeland’s Vogue was as entertaining and innovative as it was serious about fashion, art, travel, beauty, and culture. Vreeland rarely held meetings and communicated with her staff and photographers through memos dictated from her office or Park Avenue apartment. This extraordinary compilation of more than 250 pieces of Vreeland’s personal correspondence—most published here for the first time—includes letters to Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Norman Parkinson, Veruschka, and Cristobal Balenciaga and memos that show the direction of some of Vogue’s most legendary stories. These display Vreeland’s irreverence and her characteristically over-the-top pronouncements and reveal her sharpness about the Vogue woman and what the magazine should be. Photographs from the magazine illustrate the memos, showing her imagination, prescience, and exactitude. Each chapter is introduced by commentary from Vogue editors who worked with her, giving readers a truly inside look at how Diana Vreeland directed the course of the magazine and fashion world.

About The Author

Alexander Vreeland is the grandson of Diana Vreeland and president of the Diana Vreeland Estate. Polly Mellen was a fashion editor at Vogue for twenty-five years. Grace Mirabella was Vogue’s editor in chief from 1971 to 1988. Susan Train is the Paris bureau chief of Condé Nast Publications.

  • Publish Date: October 15, 2013
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Biography & Autobiography - Editors, Journalists, Publishers
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 9 x 12
  • Pages: 288
  • US Price: $55.00
  • CDN Price: $55.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4074-8


“Memos tells the story of this transformation through fascinating and witty personal correspondence, many containing amendments in Vreeland's own distinctive and fantastic handwriting. This really is the perfect book for any individual looking for personal and behind-the-scenes insight in to the world of fashion publishing, and where better to begin with the legend that is Diana Vreeland!” -Political Style

"The whip-smart mind, devil-may-care whimsy, explosive imagination and sheer fashion genius that were hers are the heart of Memos... If you are a lover of fashion, you need this book. But the same is true if you love to hate fashion and its menagerie of human grotesqueries." -New York Post

" was a delight to read...the book is a wonderful oddity…"

"The terrain mapped in Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years is not a physical one. Instead, it's the landscape of the fancifully creative mind of one of the greatest fashionistas and editrices of the 20th century. Not only do we get the specifics of Vreeland's taste-- but there are also revealing letters and dashed-off notes from one of the most forceful personalities of the last century." -1stDibs

"Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years is an extraordinary compilation of more than 250 pieces of the iconic editor's personal correspondence. Her delightful, expressive language shines in the pages of this book, which includes her notes to Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, Cristobal Balenciaga and Coco Chanel."

“Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years is a serious examination of what made this genius tick on a day to day basis when it came to her work…and when it comes to her Vogue years, to say that the reader gets a behind the scenes look at the machinations and mechanics of how Mrs. Vreeland steered that ship is an understatement. Having read quite a few books about La Vreeland, it is safe to say that this volume provides an exceptionally personal and single-minded view that focuses on her incredibly and all-consuming views of fashion and contemporary culture. The Diana Vreeland Memos exposes the reader to Ms. Vreeland’s micromanaging style at Vogue as well as her irreverence, her humor, her visionary ideas, her quirks, her codes, her politesse, and most of all her unique talents.” -NY Journal of Books

“This fall’s must-read is Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years.” -Architectural Digest

“…this new collection is a must-read. She talks about various designer collections, discusses ideas with her photographers, and shares a fashion philosophy that is to die.” -Archetypes

"...we get a peek inside the editor's method to her creativity, flights of fancy and even madness. By reading Vreeland's typewritten memos, one is given a colorful take on how fashion has evolved, on how some of the industry's most iconic images were conceived and produced...serves as a recording of fashion history from one of the icons who shaped it the most." -Forbes

“The terrain mapped in Diana Vreeland Memos is not a physical one. Instead, it’s the landscape of the fancifully creative mind of one of the greatest fashionistas and editrices of the 20th century.” -1st Dibs

Memos is surprisingly appealing as an intimate look into the frivolity, vision and creativity of Vreeland’s Vogue.” –Book Page

Author Bookshelf: Alexander Vreeland