Violet Velvet Mittens with Everything: The Fabulous Life of Diana Vreeland

Princeton Architectural. Oct. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781648960635.
Gr 2-5–Readers get a glimpse into the life of fashion icon Diana Vreeland in this picture book biography. Born in Paris in 1903, Vreeland grew up surrounded by art, music, and design. She had a love of bright colors and bold makeup that led her to a career in fashion and writing a column for Harper’s Bazaar called, “Why Don’t You?” The column was filled with quirky fashion advice such as, “Why don’t you wear violet velvet mittens with everything?” Using quotations from the column and Vreeland’s autobiography, this book is written as if Vreeland is speaking directly to readers. With only a few sentences on each page, the biographical information is sparse. Instead, this reads like a conversation with Vreeland as she tells readers highlights from her life. An author’s note fills in more details. Also included is a resource page for those wanting to know more about the fashionista. The mixed media artwork is the star of the book. The bold colors pop and the stylistic design make a nice counterpoint to the text. The palette of purples and reds reflect Vreeland’s love of red lipstick and her suggestion to wear violet mittens. Included in the illustrations are cut-out collages of what appear to be newspapers or magazines.
VERDICT Purchase to fill gaps in artsy picture book biography shelves.

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