“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.
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.
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.
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:
Details on the exhibition can be found here
All photos C&S