Forty years after changing the face of fashion with her iconic wrap dress, Diane Von Furstenberg finally admits she does have it all.
In 1976, Newsweek called Diane von Furstenberg “the most marketable female in fashion since Coco Chanel.” Thirty-eight years later, the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America is as relevant as ever—quite a feat in the oh-so-fickle world of high style. And there’s plenty more to come: 2014 promises to be a red-letter year for the designer with new store openings across the country (including her most recent upgrade at Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables) and the 40th anniversary of her legendary wrap dress, new versions of which are hitting stores this month and which is the focus of a new exhibition that kicks off Jan. 10 at the Wilshire May Company building in Los Angeles. We sat down with the iconic designer to talk past, present and future.
You’re in Miami pretty often. How do you like South Florida? I really like Miami. I arrived last night, doing a million things, so, of course, I forgot my hairbrush. But I didn’t need it. Thanks to the humidity, I have this natural curl. Some people may hate the weather, but look: It saved me time today!
Your brand is rather popular here. You have a new store at Village of Merrick Park and one at Bal Harbour Shops. Can we hope for a third? I can see more stores in Miami. This city grows every time I come back.
This month your wrap dress turns 40. What do you make of that? Listen, when we started, I had a few little dresses and a lot of enthusiasm. I had no idea what I was doing. Now, looking back, I realize I was living the American dream.
Does it boggle your mind that the same dress is being worn 40 years after it was introduced? It’s quite something. For the L.A. exhibition, we’re collecting all these first-wrap-dress stories and we hear, ‘I wore this to my first job interview,’ and ‘It’s what I wore to meet my boyfriend’s family.’ It’s a good-luck dress, and that gives me joy.
You weren’t part of the DVF company for a long time. Why? My kids were growing up and I was in Paris. You know, my children always say I really have three of them: a son, a daughter and a brand. And while my children were perfect, the brand was awful when I left, all over the place. It took me a long time to get back here.
What was most important to you when you did come back to it? I wanted to show the world that my success wasn’t an accident.
What does it feel like to have such staying power? For the first time ever I am finally impressed.
A lot of women struggle with this, but it seems like you have it all. Well, I have a great family, great kids and a great husband, but the most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. Once you have that, you have the others. You have to have you first.