Movie review: Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

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From the January 10, 2013 edition

If you know the name Diana Vreeland, you had a leg up on me in watching “The Eye Has To Travel.” The former Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue editor may be a legend in her field, but her field isn’t one that I know much about.

No matter, it turns out. A documentary about an intensely fascinating person leading a fascinating life can’t help but be entertaining. I can’t imagine how entertaining if you knew the subject better than I.

Vreeland was, if you’ll excuse me, a grand dame. A huge and quirky personality is wrapped around a passion for fashion and a headstrong sense. Through interviews with Vreeland (who died in 1989) and various big players in the field, we get a sense of the sort of person you’d die to talk to at a cocktail party.

The grandness and roaring excess, along with the style, call to mind the absurdly entertaining Robert Evans documentary “The Kid Stays in the Picture.”

The biggest knock is that director Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt has trouble putting forth a coherent narrative. He’s working from all sorts of great material, but he can’t quite stitch it all together.

No matter. The scraps are plenty entertaining for fashionistas and bystanders alike.