Being a model, singer, and great granddaughter of Diana Vreeland affords Caroline Vreeland a lot of opportunity but at what cost to her creativity and craft?
Caroline was recently in Vancouver as a special guest at the launch of Esprit’s Metropolis at Metrotown location where she entertained guests with an intimate in-store musical performance to introduce Esprit’s #ImPerfect campaign to the Vancouver market.
BLUSHVancouver had the opportunity for a one-on-one with Caroline and there is no doubt that her great grandmother’s powerful force, off-the-cuff remarks and legendary style live on with her.
How would you describe your personal style? Does your music influence your wardrobe choices?
Music absolutely influences my wardrobe choices. I showed up today in my Justin Beiber concert tee. I’m super ‘industry’ right now where I think that music and culture influence what I wear, which is mostly men’s stuff. I’m trying to find a balance between being myself and being more polished, you know, for events and things. I always gravitate to a jumpsuit because to me that’s still chill but looks refined.
What do you love most about your career as a musician and model?
I love how much they go hand-in-hand. When I started modelling and editorial work – sort of as PR for the previous album – I didn’t want to be identified as a model. But then I realized that I love it and I’m not ashamed of that. To me it’s acting and I become a creature, taking myself into that mindset. Yesterday I shot a campaign for an Italian shoe brand where I got to imagine Marilyn again. I really love the way that music and fashion go together. For me, it’s in my blood and I’m lucky that to have that niche.
“You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs.
It helps you get up in the morning.
It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody.
I’m not talking about lots of clothes.”
Diana Vreeland and the Legacy of the Name
As fashion-history would have it, Caroline’s great-grandmother, Diana Vreeland was America’s most influential figures in the industry. Born in 1903, her signature confidence and quintessential style took her from Paris, to New York and unexpectedly propelling her career as a fashion journalist. Diana was a prominent columnist and editor for Harper’s Bazaar, and editor-in-chief of Vogue. Becoming one of the most powerful forces in fashion, and was aptly named The Empress of Fashion.
Among her greatest strengths was her ability for seeing beyond the surface. She saw beauty where others could not, or before recognizing it themselves. She would say “push their faults, make it the most beautiful thing about them.” Daring to make everything beautiful. This attitude was the driving force of her editorial career. In 1936, Diana ran a column at Harper’s Bazaar called ‘Why Don’t You?’ where she offered a selection of advice and tips such as’ Why don’t you [w]ash your blond child’s hair in dead champagne, as they do in France?’ Her shocking assurance was to make it okay for women to be outlandish.
There are many factors that would attract any fashion enthusiast or writer to her figurative personality. Perhaps it is suspect to her hyperbolic approach and off-the-cuff remarks they identify with.
Diana took fashion seriously. Where elegance and intelligence went hand-in-hand, fashion wasn’t just about fashion, it was also about art, music, and society as young Caroline is finding out. It is about telling a poetic story, and making that story interesting. The overarching statement in these stories was in defining style for the new generation –the modern woman. She had the courage to be controversial, the will to be original, and the conviction to be provocative.
Not only did she allegedly discover Lauren Bacall in the 1940s, she was also style advisor to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy throughout her husband’s US presidency campaign. Twiggy’s career as a high-profile top model is also indebted to Diana.
For 25 years, Diana succeeded turning Harper’s Bazaar into one of the most internationally leading magazines before subsequently joining the Vogue staff in 1962 as their Editor-in-Chief. For 8 years she projected her point-of-view onto Vogue’s pages bringing it into the modern world. As if her influence on culture, fashion, and beauty weren’t enough, Diana obtained the role as consultant to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972. Notably she organized twelve exhibits including La Belle Époque, Yves Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga. Taking inspiration from the runway, trends in retail, editorials, and her own colourful personality, she revolutionized the Costume Institute by exhibiting a sensory experience.
Known for her jungle-red, ‘garden in hell’ apartment, the queen of New York society passed away in 1989. Leaving behind a legacy and panache for fashion, beauty, originality, aesthetic, and colour.
Diana’s grandson, Alexander Vreeland created fragrances in honour of her greatest quotes from her most famous writings such as “You don’t have to be born beautiful to be wildly attractive.” Alexander’s wife, Lisa Immordino Vreeland produced the 2011 documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, quoting “because it was art history and she’s another strong woman.”
NYFW Photograph of Caroline Vreeland and Peace Love Shea courtesy StreetScout.Me.