Monday, May 21, 2012

Always Dressed for Success: Diane von Furstenberg

ALWAYS DRESSED FOR SUCCESS: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG -- Was there ever a time when Diane von Furstenberg wasn't the most fabulous woman around? Just look at that photo (top) of her poolside in Geneva, Switzerland at age 18 -- and you know that, yes indeed, she was fabulous even at 18 in 1964, the year she met her prince -- Egon of F├╝rstenberg (the eldest son of German Prince Tassilo zu F├╝rstenberg) who she would marry in 1969.  From falling in love with a prince to falling in love with prints and the woman's signature piece of fashion -- the dress -- it has been a long and stylish journey for the Belgian-born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin -- who is now known around the world as DVF for the amazing fashion empire that she started with $30,000 and a vision filled with determination. You remember the '70s, don't you?  It was such a wild and crazy time -- especially in New York where von Furstenberg arrived in 1970 with a suitcase filled with 12 jersey dresses that she had made in Italy at the textile factory of her friend Angelo Ferretti -- and even the New York Times ran a profile on her that year, an auspicious start to her fashion career (with encouragement coming from such fashion heavy-hitters as Bill Blass, Kenneth Jay Lane and Diana Vreeland!).  At first, she worked out of her dining room/office in the Gotham Hotel and presented her first show there.  Come 1972, von Furstenberg started her own manufacturing company with help from friend and entrepreneur Richard Conrad -- and with a loan from her father, opened a showroom on Seventh Avenue.  Not long after introducing the iconic wrap dress in 1974, her sales went soaring past $1 million -- and the fashion world has never been the same. "Attitude is everything," von Furstenberg once said -- and is she ever right on that one! How can you not assume an attitude of style, grace and ease and ultra-femininity while wearing one of those sensuous wrap dresses? From 12 jersey dresses in a suitcase in 1970 to becoming one of the most admired women in fashion and for her many philanthropic causes, Diane von Furstenberg is certainly at the top of Studio of Style's Style list. “Building a wardrobe is like building a circle of friends your whole life…Your own beauty is to be yourself, but of course we need tools and accessories," said von Furstenberg at the debut of her collection on the QVC network in 1992 -- at which time she sold $1.2 million in wrap dresses and shirts in two hours -- you gotta love that!!  And how true her words continue to ring, in that von Furstenberg's beauty emanates from being herself over the decades which have seen trends and fads come and go.  In recent years, she has created a home collection, luggage, fragrances and designed suites for Claridge's hotel in London -- not to mention expanding her fashion showrooms around the globe.  She would have been amazing at whatever path she chose -- but luckily for us, Diane von Furstenberg has chosen to bring color, ease, elegance and attitude to all of us who can't get enough of DVF's fabulous POV.