Monday, August 4, 2008

How to Make a First-Date Impression, by Diana Vreeland

"Mom only liked to appear in public at full gallop. "
--Frederick Vreeland, son of Diana

I'll be appearing in public at a slow trot until the return of autumn and boot season, myself. Nothing to see here. So let's turn our attention to Diana Vreeland, known for her wit and style. She famously said, "Elegance is refusal." Well put, but I am not sure it fully explains her choice in home decor, at left, or this:

"I adore artifice. I always have. I remember when I was thirteen or fourteen buying red lacquer in Chinatown for my fingernails... So I went around with these red fingernails-- you can imagine how that would have gone over at the Brearley School.
Then... when I started going out a few years later, I discovered calcimine. If I was going out-- and I went out almost every night-- two and a half hours before my escort arrived I'd start with this huge bottle of calcimine-- a sponge... and I'd be totally calcimined from the waist up, out along the arms, the throat, etc cetera, et cetera. I had to do this alone, because my family didn't take much interest in what I was doing. Then, when my escort and I would get up to dance, he, in his black dinner jacket, would be totally white. I would come off on him. But he'd have to put up with it. It meant nothing to me-- I looked like a lily!"
--Diana Vreeland, DV (1984)


Calcimine is a type of whitewash, more often used for plaster and ceilings. Quite drying to the skin, I'd imagine.