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Feel like a woman, wear a dress

Posted in fashion, and Style & Travel

dvf“Fear is not an option” Diane Halfin’s mother used to remind her daughter. And she knew a thing or two about fear: a short few months before becoming pregnant with her daughter she was still in Auschwitz.

And fear is not usually associated with Diane Halfin, who went on to become Diane von Furstenberg when she married in the House of Furstenberg in the late ’60’s.

A splash of color
A splash of color

To assume that Diane von Furstenberg became famous because of the wealth and prestige she married into would be misleading. “When I knew I was going to marry Egon, I also knew I had to have my own career because I didn’t want to be defined by who I was marrying”. And with a modest investment, even for those times, of $30,000 she started a fashion house that ebbed and flowed over the years and that is now a multimillion dollar enterprise.

But Diane von Furstenberg’s name will be forever linked to her most fortunate creation: the wrap dress. The Prince long been divorced, (she is now married to media mogul Barry Diller), Ms. von Furstenberg is celebrating 40 years of a little dress that, in some way, changed the way women dressed in the 70’s and went on to endure in many incarnations. If women as varied as Michelle Obama, Madonna and the Duchess of Cambridge have all been photographed wearing THAT dress, that must be something in it.

Ms. von Furstenberg today
Ms. von Furstenberg today

At a time, in the ’70’s, when professional women were limited to smart dresses, blouses and skirts, Diane von Furstenberg created a simple jersey dress that would wrap gracefully around pretty much any body type, a dress that could be smart, easy to get in and out of and, more importantly, flattering and comfortable.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress, DVF has mounted a celebratory and fun exhibition that revisits the archives from 1973 to the present.

A 17 year old Jerry Hall modelling a wrap dress
A 17 year old Jerry Hall modelling a wrap dress

Diane von Furstenberg, a smart woman of unconventional and exotic beauty, has led a charmed life but she worked hard for it. At 67, and celebrated over the last 50 years in gossip magazines, fashion shoots and portrayed by many contemporary artists from Andy Warhol to Peter Lindbergh, she has resisted the temptation to stop time and freeze her features with cosmetic intervention, as if to say “This is who I am – take it or leave it”.

Homage to Emilio Pucci:

Homage to Emilio Pucci

Summer version:
dvf The pantsuit version:

The pantsuit version

Before leopard was fashionable:dvf

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Details on the exhibition can be found here

All photos C&S

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. I had a pretty wrap dress for years and recently gave it away–now I regret doing so. I I think I need a new one….want to go shopping? 🙂
    Great photos.

    February 4, 2014
    |Reply
  2. Beautiful dresses! My favourite dress is a red silk jersey wrap dress, I feel wonderful every time I put it on. Particularly like some of these graphic prints tho.
    Jane x

    January 28, 2014
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  3. It really does make a difference how you feel about yourself, no matter how comfortable those jeans are. I’d be happy to see Casual Day swing back a bit. We all just look like slobs at work.

    January 28, 2014
    |Reply
    • It’s true that some industries have no dress code anymore. Maybe because I work from home most of the time, I really look forward “to dress up” when I work outside the house. And yes, it does make a difference to one’s sense of self.

      January 28, 2014
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  4. I had no idea about her mother having been in Auschwitz. What an inspiration. I love all these dresses, by the way!

    January 28, 2014
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    • Love them too…I own one, which I bought on sale, as they have become a bit unaffordable, which is a shame. But plenty of knockoffs to go around!

      January 28, 2014
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    • Hers is not so much a rags to riches story, as she comes from an affluent background, but her resilience is inspirational!

      January 28, 2014
      |Reply
  5. silvia
    silvia

    Very nice. Your post made me fantasize about having a couple of them.
    Had no idea she was deported to Auschwitz. It gives a different insight to the woman she has become.

    January 28, 2014
    |Reply
    • It was actually her mom who was in Auschwitz. She was born in 1946.

      January 28, 2014
      |Reply
      • silvia
        silvia

        Ops! Little misunderstanding…

        January 30, 2014
        |Reply
  6. I wait for the day when a breezy summer dress is allowed dress code for men, too.

    January 27, 2014
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    • mmmm…when the Scots give their skirts a whirl, I can’t say they make for attractive hairy legs viewing….

      January 28, 2014
      |Reply
      • Well, this anti-body-hair cult is a fairly new trend, 50 years ago no one felt bothered about it. I’m not sure if it will last, but you are right, currently there are many who are against body hair.

        Ah well. Maybe I should become tailor or so, to try designs of my own 😀

        January 28, 2014
        |Reply

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