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2001-07-12

Diana Vreeland
B. 1903 (?) Paris, France / D. 8.22.1989 New York City
Heart Attack

For all who wince when approaching footsteps sound out like rifle shots—women’s heels on sidewalks, on the floors of office corridors—for all to whom such footsteps have become familiar, heralding a bitter face and fussy, harshly-phrased incompetence—for myself, remembering a certain semi-literate assistant dean and her assistant, too—for others whose ears are being more presently afflicted—I offer words of wisdom and power. D.V., say on:

And footsteps! I can’t stand the vulgarity of a woman who makes a noise when she walks. It’s all right for soldiers, but when I was growing up the quintessence of breeding in a lady was a quiet footstep. Well, it is to me still. Do you know that I let a brilliant worker go at Vogue because of the way she walked—the clank of those heels! She went to live in Paris after I talked to her. I said, “I can’t stand your footsteps. I can’t!” But, of course, what it was with her was anger; it is a form of anger if you can’t control the foot. I promise you, the heavy tread is a form of anger. You ought to pull up your instep, tense the leg, perhaps wear a little lower heel. Or else just take the trouble to walk a little more carefully. And if you can’t do that, you have to go to Paris! As Napoleon said, “Go to Paris and become a woman.”

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