Our Color Issue wouldn’t be complete without a spotlight on Diana Vreeland, the legendary editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar who’s practically synonymous with bright and bold color (and fearless fashion in general). There were her famous proclamations on the subject (“Pink is the navy blue of India,” “Red is the great clarifier, bright and revealing”) not to mention her vibrant, Technicolor interiors and divinely rouged lips and cheeks — signatures all. We spoke to her grandson Alexander, who oversees her estate and is keeping the D.V. name alive with books, a documentary and, most recently, the launch of Diana Vreeland Parfums.

Favorite quote of my grandmother’s…
“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.”

Diana’s favorite colors…
People always talk about her love for red and her red office, but if you look at her writings, she was just as passionate about blues, she was really interested in greens and she really cared about ivory. She just really loved color.

And floral preference…
She liked big bouquets of flowers — the color didn’t matter. Bouquets of parrot tulips, lilies and tuberoses. Just large bouquets.

Her color sense at home…
She loved bright colors and loved living in bright colors. She was very bold and courageous in the colors that she surrounded herself with. Her dining room, for example, was all stripes — stripes of yellow, green, purple…

We launched Diana Vreeland Parfums because…
I’ve been overseeing my grandmother’s estate for the last five years and during that period we’ve come out with books and my wife’s documentary, Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, and what came out of these different projects is that my grandmother has a very active following within a much broader demographic than any of us suspected. So I was looking at that. If we did a project, what would it be…

And why perfumes…
My grandmother lived in a very olfactory world — she loved perfumes, scented candles, potpourri, incense. She actually put perfume into the air-conditioning ducts at The Met [where she was the Special Consultant for the Costume Institute]. She just couldn’t imagine a life without scent. When people describe visiting her, they talk about getting off the elevator and succumbing to the smell pouring out of her room.

The scents in the collection…
It’s about interpreting what she would do today and finding a language that’s more relevant to people rather than being literal and recreating what she actually wore. We created a 35-page olfactory brief where we laid out what we thought Diana Vreeland should be in fragrance and what my grandmother’s name should represent. And the inspiration — when [my wife] Lisa’s documentary came out and we’d go to screenings, people would talk about what emotion they had after seeing it. They’d talk about fearlessness and feeling empowered. Those are the references we kept going back to.

Diana’s morning beauty routine…
She had a very involved routine. She’d wake up early, then go to her bathroom and be on the phone to her office for three to four hours. She’d do all her dictations, her memos and correspondences from there. Then as it was getting close to noon — and she realized that she had to go to the office — it was this very quick process where she would sit at her makeup table and put on her makeup. She would spray on her perfume and, often, she would dab a little sandalwood oil behind her ears as the last thing. Then she’d put on her clothes — she would have already decided what she was going to wear — and walk out. At this point she was moving, like actually putting on clothes as she walked out the door.

When it came to home fragrance…
She had potpourri. She had incense burning. She’d drop oils on top of these round disks that sat on top of light bulbs, which would perfume the place. She’d also spray a scent in the room. This was all at once. And she would also take fragrances and inject them into pillows with a hypodermic needle.

Favorite memory with her…
When she was at Vogue, I used to go have lunch with her at her office at Condé Nast, which at the time was in the Graybar Building by Grand Central. I was a teenager then. She’d clear out the room and her assistant, who had already called and asked me what I wanted for lunch, would set up a little card table in the middle of the room. My grandmother would close all the doors — there were three different sets of doors to her office — and we’d have this really intense conversation for 25 minutes, just the two of us. She’d have her sandwich — peanut butter and marmalade on whole wheat. I’d have my hamburger. We’d both have our ice cream. And she’d have a couple of cigarettes and a whiskey. Then the doors would open and everything went back to craziness.

And those lunchtime conversations…
She was always interested in what I was doing — what music are you listening to, what are you doing, what movies have you seen, how’s school going… She never told me what I should do with my life, never criticized the decisions I was making.

Thanksgiving chez Vreeland
You know, she wasn’t big on family occasions. She wasn’t interested in food. Her ideal meal would be a chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie, something very simple and quite bland. I mean, it was not really a big priority. I’m doing all these lunches with Neiman Marcus now for the fragrance and they keep saying, “Let’s do this amazing French meal…” and I’m, like, don’t waste your time — I would love it, but my grandmother was really not into that.

Other holiday traditions…
It’s possible that in my father’s time it was different, but by the time my brother and I came along, I don’t remember any strong holiday or Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions. She’d give great presents though. My favorite was this duffle coat made out of lambskin. She was always really generous.

Follow @dvdianavreeland / #dvparfums

Read more from the Color Issue.

Alexander Vreeland in front of the Diana Vreeland Parfums window display at Colette, Paris, courtesy of Vreeland

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