How to convey the life story of a woman so much larger than life? As Lisa Immordino Vreeland moved through this daunting process, collecting materials and conducting research for an innovative book that would commemorate her already-immortalized grandmother-in-law, Diana Vreeland (1903-1989), she was struck with the answer. A film. Only a multi-dimensional platform would truly reveal the subtleties of Mrs. Vreeland’s persona and character.
Cut to: three years later. The documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel premieres at the Venice International Film Festival and the highly-selective Telluride Film Festival, painting an intimate portrait of a woman we all thought we knew. The film’s most compelling moments are not the high-drama of her career or the celebration of her imagination and singular looks, but rather those that reveal her personal history, vulnerabilities, steely determination and divine triumph.
With deference, Immordino Vreeland unflinchingly charts Mrs. Vreeland’s challenging childhood, fraught with parental strain, insecurities and academic failures, her self-preservation and ultimately her break through — reinventing herself as the dazzling, adventurous woman who would win the heart of ravishing bachelor Reed Vreeland. Wending its way through the Belle Époque in Paris, NYC’s Roaring ‘20s and London’s Swinging ‘60s, the film sparkles with game-changing moments in the history of fashion while still embracing weighty themes such as the evolution of women into roles of power and prominence.
Mrs. Vreeland’s own voice — that fabled mix of polished sophistication and street jargon — tells much of the story, coupled with insights and anecdotes from colleagues and friends like Andy Warhol, Diane Sawyer, Manolo Blahnik and Veruschka. First-time director Immordino Vreeland enlisted the talents of Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng, the critically-acclaimed editors of Valentino: The Last Emperor. Together they crafted hundreds of hours of archival footage, interviews, photography, graphics, animation and other visual and musical devices into a seamless collage that is already being touted as a living work of art.