As soon as I stop speaking the pearls disappear

It was in 1963 that Diana Vreeland became the highly influential editor-in-chief of Vogue, having previously worked at Harper’s Bazaar for 25 years first as a columnist and then fashion editor. Add to these achievements her “discovery” of both Lauren Bacall and Edie Sedgwick, plus her role as style-advisor to Jaqueline Kennedy whilst First Lady, and you have something of a legend in the world of fashion.

More importantly, she also spent her Vogue-era mornings dictating memos to her staff. From her bathroom. Below are just a few of the thousands she crafted mid-ablution, over a hundred of which were complied in issue #37 of Visionaire back in 2002. Although released as a limited edition nearly a decade ago, copies are available at Amazon as I type.

Apologies for the low quality of the scans, however transcripts can be found below.


Date DECEMBER 6, 1966


Our cover situation is drastic…

I do not hear from anyone an idea or a suggestion of either a face or something that would be suitable…

We are on the verge of a drastic emergency.



Date DECEMBER 9, 1966


I am extremely disappointed to see that we have used practically no pearls at all in the past few issues. In fact, many necklines could have been helped by pearls worn inside the dress that show inside the cutaway sides and back of most ordinary dresses on top…

I speak of this very often — and as soon as I stop speaking the pearls disappear.

Nothing gives the luxury of pearls. Please keep them in mind.



Date JUNE 5, 1967


I am extremely disappointed that no one has taken the slightest interest in freckles on the models…

I heartily suggest that we get going as soon as possible on this delicious coquetery– and that you experiment well before pictures are taken…as the only time we have tried doing this, the spots turned out to look like black moles instead of pale red freckles…

All these suggestions were in my telexes from Paris— and I was hoping to see them throughout the next few issues…and it is high time we get on to this.

Please discuss with Carol Phillips’ department the best stuff to use.



Date SEPTEMBER 16, 1968


Don’t forget the Serpent…

The serpent should be on every finger and all wrists and all everywhere…

The serpent is the motif of the hours in jewellery…

We cannot see enough of them…



Date OCTOBER 24, 1968


I have seen several pictures now – one of Avedon which you will see in November and one of Waldeck which you will see in the Arts Department –

This girl I know looks like another generation – her limbs and the way of using her body…

However she is a complete Plisetskaya in my opinion – I think you could do the greatest most fascinating fashion pictures of her…

No-one has fussed with her hair…

No-one has taken trouble with the girl because the photographers are still looking for babies and I have to add, none of them are finding any…

I think to show clothes this girl is superb, but no-one is fussed with her…

She has done her best and I believe – though of course I don’t know – she has always felt unwanted and only used for clothes of a certain proportion…

She has a small bust which with a proper bra can be gotten around – and outside of that her body, legs, arms, wrist, and throat and brow are superb…

I suggest that she is refreshing and that you use her…



Date Monday, 2 November, 70


I think Tonne has the makings of a good model – strength and ease in getting “off the ground.”

Tonne has not learned how to smile or to use her eyes or to make herself extraordinary with her face.

This is something you must teach a model and then see to it that she carries it out!

Please do not fail with this girl – though she is not pretty – she pulls together perfect bones and proportion in an aristocrative manner.

See pictures?

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