Someone was bound to make a documentary about Nicholas "Nicky" Vreeland, because there are only so many wealthy white guys who chuck it all for life as a Buddhist monk. Codirectors Guido Santi and Tina Mascara (Chris & Don: A Love Story) interview Nicky and his associates to explain his journey from pampered diplomat’s son to humble spiritual disciple.
And lest anyone think it was a whim or a lark, Nicky has been on this path for 30 years, but he maintains a connection to the family business by way of photography (his grandmother, Diana Vreeland, served as Vogue's editor in chief). Instead of fashion, the be-robed, sandal-clad Nicky prefers to photograph his surroundings.
When he was assisting Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, however, he cut a dashing figure that speakers describe as a “dandy” and a “naughty boy,” but he felt increasingly unfulfilled, so he made the move from meditation to full-time monk.
It’s a straightforward, uncritical narrative, which doesn’t make it boring, but a film about the flamboyant young man who liked to lovingly polish every one of his designer shoes and drive like a madman around Paris would've been more entertaining.