Diana Vreeland Red Boots | Agraria

Vreeland: Red was a religion

A cigarette, a saber tooth necklace and a “living room in Hell”: these might be the first things that come to mind at the mention of La Vreeland’s name. But…Mom?

Yes. Mom. Besides being the doyenne of fashion, besides making Vogue the ne plus ultra fashion magazine in the world, and besides being the queen of the costume department at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Diana was a beloved mother and grandmother.

Diana Vreeland Living Room in Hell | Agraria

Vreeland in her Billy Baldwin-designed "Living Room in Hell"

And we can’t help but mention that Vreeland was one of Agraria’s biggest fans. She lit a dozen Bitter Orange perfumed burning sticks a night! She helped establish the scent that led a parade of fans to associate Bitter Orange with Park Avenue.

Diana’s autobiography, and her biographers as well, tell the story of a devoted family woman who inspired filial loyalty and admiration. Her son Tim shared a private side of his mother after her passing by publishing the story of Vreeland’s Polaroids. It seems that Vreeland’s house keepers could never quite get the arrangement of decoratives, cigarette boxes, vases, and pillow ensembles to her liking. So, she arranged it all with her inimitable style and grace, took Polaroids of it all, and made a book for the ladies who kept her apartment.

Our friends at The New York Times told this story a year or so ago and reminded us that all great men have a mother — and a grandmother:

“This was long before people shaved their heads,” Nicholas Vreeland, director of the Tibet Center in New York, and grandson of the legendary Vogue editor, told the NY Times. “I was living with her in her apartment at the time and she was in New Mexico. I called her and told her. And she said, ‘Oh, Nicky. How could you have done that to me?’ And I said, ‘I didn’t do it to you. I did it to me.'”

Nicholas Vreeland is now the point man for the Dalai Lama and attends to all the details of his comings and goings around the world.

Nicholas Vreeland, Source: New York Times | Agraria

Nicholas Vreeland, Source: New York Times

Nicholas, after his grandmother Diana passed on, contacted the founders of Agraria. It seems that Diana had left quite a bit of Bitter Orange in stock. Diana’s children and grand-children had divided up the booty and had happy fragrance memories for a quite a while. But eventually the cache was gone, and now he wanted to be sure that all the members of the family could keep the great memories going and ordered his own stash.

Happy Mother’s Day — and Grandmother’s Day — to a friend we loved and respected.

About Perfumed Burning Sticks:
If you’re interested they’re named “perfumed burning sticks” because they are more intense than incense as they have a fragrance load of 50% essential oils. Incense is 5%…10% at best. They are hand-dipped in San Francisco by an Indian American family of incense makers using skills passed down generations.

Bitter Orange Burning Sticks | Agraria

Bitter Orange Burning Sticks

They are fragrant enough they don’t even need to be lit.  Toss a few in a drawer and they become really powerful sachets, or just stick them in bowl filled with pebbles or sand and enjoy the fragrance.

Side note: In the late 70’s when our Bitter Orange Burning Stick sales were on fire, Bendel’s president, Geraldine Stutz, commented, “I don’t understand what the big deal is?  They don’t last very long.”  When told they should last 30-40 minutes, it was discovered she wasn’t blowing them out after lighting them but letting them flame all the way to the end.