the wonderful life of Diana Vreeland

diana-vreeland

…”poi al centro fece il suo ingresso… Josephine Baker. Ora, quella fu un’entrata memorabile: ecco una nera in casa. La sua acconciatura fatta da Antoine, il famoso parrucchiere parigino, assomigliava a quella di un ragazzo greco: piccoli riccioli schiacciati sul cranio…e indossava un vestito bianco Vionnet, tagliato di sbieco a quattro punte, come un fazzoletto. Non aveva aperture,ne’ chiusure…bastava infilarlo dalla testa perché’ quel vestito si adattasse al corpo tanto da farlo muovere con disinvoltura e fluidità. E Josephine si muoveva eccome! Quelle lunghe gambe nere, quelle lunghe braccia nere, quel lungo collo nero…e schiacciate sui suoi riccioli neri e piatti c’erano farfalle bianche di seta. Aveva l’eleganza della Gay Paree, l’allegra Parigi. …. Una sera a Parigi, dopo il mio matrimonio, andai insieme a un’amica in un piccolo teatro a Montmartre per vedere un film tedesco intitolato l’Atlantide…Era meta’ luglio faceva caldo….Il film inizio’,e ne fui totalmente inebriata. … Ero semplicemente rapita, sedotta da queste scene del deserto, della Regina del Continente perduto, la donna più perfida del mondo…e i suoi ghepardi!…Poi si sono accese le luci e ho sentito un lieve movimento sotto la mano. Ho abbassato lo sguardo…c’era un ghepardo! E accanto al ghepardo c’era Josephine Baker! “Oh,ha portato il suo ghepardo a vedere i ghepardi!”dissi io. “Si,proprio così” disse lei. Era da sola con un ghepardo al guinzaglio. Era vestita magnificamente: indossava una meravigliosa minigonna nera e una camicetta Vionnet senza maniche e senza il dietro e davanti…solo fasce incrociate di sbieco. …Il ghepardo tiro’ il guinzaglio e Josephine fu trascinata in fretta giu’per tre rampe di scale. Ad aspettarla in strada c’era un’enorme Rolls Royce bianca e argentata. Il conducente apri’ la portiera e lei si libero’del guinzaglio; il ghepardo stridette e salto’nel sedile posteriore insieme a Josephine; la portiera si richiuse…e se ne andarono!”…

…” then she walked in… Josephine Baker. See, that was a memorable entrance: there she was, a black woman in the house. Her hairstyle made by Antoine, the famous Parisien coiffeur, looked like a greek young man’s one: small curls pressed on the skull… and she was wearing a white Vionnet dress, cut sideways, with four points, like a hanky. It didn’t have any opening or latch… you just had to put it on running your head through it, and it immediately fitted your body which you could move with fluidity and comfort. And Josephine did move! Those long black legs, those long black arms, that long black neck… and on her tiny curls there were tiny butterflies of white silk. She had the elegance of the Gay Paree… One evening in Paris, after my wedding, I went with a friend to a small theater in Montmartre, to watch a Deutsche movie called L’Atlantide… it was middle July and it was hot outside… the film started and it totally enchanted me, I was seduced by the scenes of that desert, of the Queen of the lost continent, the most evil woman in the whole world… and her cheetahs! Then the light turned on and I felt a light movement under my hand. I looked down there and… there was a cheetah! And next to it was Josephine Baker! “So, you brought your cheetah to see other cheetahs” I said. “That’s right” she said. She was alone with a cheetah on a leash. She was magnificently dressed: a black mini skirt and a Vionnet sleeveless and backless blouse, that had on the front part only crossed bands… The cheetah pulled on the leash and Josephine was dragged down three staircases. On the street there was a white and silver Rolls Royce waiting for her. The driver opened the door and she loosened the leash, the cheetah jumped on the backseat with her; The door closed… and they left”…


from Diana Vreeland (Donzelli editore)

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