Last Friday night in Los Angeles, Diane von Furstenberg celebrated the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress. The Wilshire May Company Building hosted the party, where the “Journey of a Dress” exhibit was revealed and a limited edition collection announced.

Diane von Furstenberg at the opening of "Journey of a Dress"
Diane von Furstenberg at the opening of “Journey of a Dress”

Diane von Furstenberg, a Belgian-born Jewish designer, started her own company in 1970 with an investment of $30,000. In 1974, after a few years of hauling suitcases of jersey dresses to department stores, she created the wrap dress. Below, at age 23, is von Furstenberg pictured in the WWD announcement of her new design.

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Women’s Wear Daily, 1974

By 1979, her business was grossing $150 million a year in retail sales. Forty years later, Diane is still a top designer and a leader in the fashion world. She was named President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2006, and has held the position since.

She created the DvF Awards in 2010, awarding $50,000 each to four women a year who show passionate commitment to women’s causes. She and her husband, media mogul Barry Diller, are committed to a number of different philanthropic pursuits. The pair have contributed more than $35 million to the High Line, the largest single donation to a park in New York City’s history.

Her revolutionary wrap dress is a permanent piece in the collection of the Costume Institue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Von Furstenberg’s mother, daughter, and grandaughter have all worn the dress, which, according to the designer, symbolizes “freedom, empowerment, and confidence.” Television personality Louise Roe (who scored her first job with BBC wearing a DVF creation) summed up the designer’s legacy at the Friday night opening; saying, “she’s the queen of girl power.”

Charlotte Bryant

 

 

 

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