“I’ve never known what I wanted to do but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”
Diane von Furstenberg
Success is when a complicated surname rolls off the tongue around the world without any problems. That is how I define success. And success is how you define DvF.
Diane is a designer who simplified fashion. She took a step back and thought about the three pillars she wanted her designs to achieve. These were:
– To be demure enough to go and see your boyfriend’s mum
– To be sexy enough to turn heads
– To be a flattering and simple go to piece, any day, every day
All of these put together seem pretty difficult to achieve. But perfection is often in simplicity and that’s what Diane reminded us of with the legendary wrap dress.
Speaking to us at the V&A, Diane came across as a witty, no-nonsense business woman who has been through it all. And yet her humour and sarcasm made her look so youthful. I remember one of my best friends saying that people with a strong personality seem taller in real life. Diane’s personality made her eighteen forever and at least six one. She just had that all encompassing energy where she could wrap her arms around you just by speaking to you. A true mentor, a true achiever.
I asked Diane what her advice was on dealing with let downs and failure. I figured the message would be extremely strong coming from a fashion icon. It was. She told me that she was yet to meet a woman who wasn’t strong. According to Diane, in the times of catastrophes or incredibly difficult times it is the women who stand up and carve the way for the better. She firmly said that she had one policy when it came to failure – learning from it, gaining strength from it. And who can argue? Nay. Who dares to?
Journey of a Dress isn’t really a book about choosing fabrics and prints. At first glance it well may be, but if you look deeper it is about the journey of DVF as a designer and as a woman. The dress is almost a by-product of Diane’s experience, of her life, personality and most of all femininity. It is her autoportret.
Andy Warhol may have painted her twice, but it was her who conceptualised her own autoportret which she was, is and will be most famed for. The wrap dress.
“Feel like a woman – wear a dress.”
Thank you to the V&A for having me.