Feel like a woman, wear a dress! September 28, 2006

The September 25 issue of the New Yorker has an enticing profile of Diana the Huntress, aka Diane von Furstenberg, creatrix of the super-iconic wrap dress. I’m a huge fan of hers — I own one of her wrap dresses, a $14 find at Buffalo Exchange a couple of years ago — and I always keep an eye on her vintage pieces on eBay, though they usually get out of hand pretty quickly.

If you have the issue handy, open it to page 120 to see her first-ever advertisement, from 1972: she’s leaning back wearing a black-and-white dress with an exuberant splash of pearls, looking radiant and confident in her own design, above the slogan (written in her own handwriting): “Feel like a woman, wear a dress!” For the first time, she’d made a charming, universally flattering dress that a woman could wear from the office to dinner and then out for the rest of the night, if she chose to. The obvious love Diane had, and has, for “the alchemy of the fitting room” — the moment when a woman feels lovelier, more comfortable in her own skin, and blessed with confidence as she looks at herself in a new garment for the first time — shines through the black and white photo.

The other thing I love about her work is the details. Her fabric patterns are exquisite, like the vintage prints she’s recreated for her newer pieces, the arresting geometrics that instantly draw the eye, or the organic patterns she comes up with based on her own photographs of trees and animals.

Ironically, the only dress of hers I own isn’t a pattern I particularly like — it’s a 90s Southwest color palette, in a slinky silk knit — but I love it to death anyway, and I’ll never part with it.

my DVF wrap dress

I hope it will have some company in my closet sometime soon; maybe a leaf print, or one of her 70s reissues…

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