Initially, I had thought that Susan was referring to something about Vreeland's physical presence. I was tall. I had a long horsey face. But as I read, I found myself identifying with the life story itself--her sense of living on a financial edge at times, her flamboyance. I made a note or two about a couple of designers I had never heard of before. One was a person named Mainbocher, known in the 60s for understated elegance.
He is known for designing Wallis Simpson's grayish-blue wedding dress as well as her trousseau in 1937. In New York, as in Paris, Mainbocher's clientele (always referred to as friends) were drawn from the most elite echelons of society. Gloria Vanderbilt, Diana Vreeland, C.Z. Guest and Babe Paley were among his New York clients. Due to a policy of accepting new clients only through personal recommendation, Mainbocher's salon was known as the most exclusive in New York City.
How, then, did this little jacket find its way into my hands? I have since passed it along to my daughter P. But can any of my readers tell me how vintage dealers evaluate their finds?