Allure by Diana Vreeland couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I kept it on my wish list, always postponing the purchase for the reasons I cannot really explain because I don’t have a clue myself. And then, two weeks ago, I got my copy – a beautiful heavy hardcover edition full of memories, stories, precious quotes and photos.
I sat in a garden on a hot summer afternoon, hiding from the scorching sun behind an old pair of oversized sunglasses and a trilby covered with a brightly coloured silk scarf and lost the track of time.
The book was more than just a wonderful read. It was my ticket into normality. The words pulled me out of the stale coma in which I have been emotionally sinking since my physical shape got out of order and affected pretty much every part of my life. As soon as I began to read and browse the photographs, the emotions began to fill my brain with endorphins and turning me into my good old self.
This is quite an extraordinary story told by an extraordinary woman who could see the life and people around her in a completely different, new and exciting light and had an ability to share her thoughts to give her readers a real hunger for beauty, creativity and zest.
Allure is about stories taped-recorded by Christopher Hemphill and accompanied by a potpourri of black and white photographs carefully chosen by Diana from her archives. She speaks about herself, but through the memories of people who inspired her, held her by having that special something that cannot be explained, but felt. Allure, as she puts it.
I read this book in one sitting. When I got to the last page I had two regrets – the fact that the story was over and that Diana was no longer with us.
How I wish she was still around, keeping things real and true, and presenting them in a completely different, never before seeing, fascinating light.
I don’t have a tendency to idolise people. I don’t have role models or icons, but Diana Vreeland is one of those few women who I admire to the point of a heartache. It was her birthday on 29 July and I wanted to take an opportunity to celebrate this unique woman and recommend Allure to you as an absolute must-read.
Photo source: first photo - Diana Vreeland via Lab-Lab, all other photos are from the book, taken and edited by me – Cecil Sorel by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1930s, Balenciaga’s white linen blouse from 1953 by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Richard Avedon 1966, Maya Plisetskaya by Cecil Beaton 1964, Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern 1962.