...play a sly trick on a style icon?
This January 1963 Bazaar cover has been the source of controversy and speculation since it first hit newsstands nearly half a century ago. The cover model ("Dani") was rumored to have been made up to parody the legendary Diana Vreeland, who had recently defected from Bazaar to its arch rival, Vogue.
Certainly, Dani was a marked switch from the remote, icy mannequins who usually graced the fashion magazine covers at the time: her near-camp, wry smile; decidedly "handsome" features; blue-black hair; and flamboyant cigarette holder make a good case indeed for an extravagant "in joke" perpetrated by Bazaar and photographer Richard Avedon. The ensuing cover made enough of an impact that even columnist Walter Winchell jumped into the fray. The mystery remains unsolved, but another clue lies further within the same issue's pages:
This striking image appears in a fashion layout entitled "Carte Blanche Chic," a seven page spread in which two other models appear in all but this one photo. This chic lady makes just this one, prominent, full page appearance, and is noticeably older and styled quite differently from the other two models. She also bears more than a passing resemblance to Kay Thompson as"Maggie Prescott" in Funny Face (1957) - a character acknowledged as being based, at least in part, on Mrs. Vreeland.
If she were aware of the joke, we'd like to think that Mrs. Vreeland took it with good humor, and also as a compliment to her singular, influential style. After all, to get one over on D.V. took - let's face it - pizazz.