Wrapped In Fashion

Forty years ago, a young aspiring fashion designer by the name of Diane von Furstenberg created the wrap dress. The fashion elite of New York City were said to be blasé about it. Matter-of-fact, as legend has it, most major fashion editors (at least the ones who could launch a designer’s career at the time) didn’t even like it.

Diane didn’t give up on her dream, though, and managed to get her dress into the hands of Diana Vreeland, the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine at the time. In return, the editor sent the designer a handwritten note saying that her custom creation was “smashing.”

A short time later, the dress was featured in Vogue and the rest is fashion history. Fast forward forty years later and “Wrapped In Fashion” isn’t just a lofty trend that had its 15 minutes of fame and regained steam (a few decades later) in the “what’s old is new again,” never-ending wheel of fashion. 

Instead, it’s the opposite. The dress is the complete antithesis of trendy. It’s one of the few articles of clothing in fashion history that has undeniably, irrevocably, proven it has incredible staying power, endurance, if you will. In fact, it’s wrapped, cinched and double knotted itself around the titles “classic” and “timeless.”

To celebrate the frock’s fabulousness and its forty year iconic status, DVF (you know you’re famous when you can go by just your initials) is currently hosting an exhibit in Los Angeles, at the famed May Co. department store building called “Journey of a Dress.” It features 200 of Diane’s most famous wrap dress designs throughout the years. Even the mannequins are modeled in her likeness. 

Also to help celebrate the magnificent milestone, Diane has designed a new limited edition dress called “Pop Wrap,”(available in stores now,) in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation. 

Diane and the late, great famed artist became close friends in the 70’s, when she was just getting started. After she designed the wraparound garment, Andy would paint a portrait of Diane. Their friendship and the experience of being painted by Warhol is the inspiration behind the “Pop Collection.”

Diane took her original creative cue (when designing the dress) from the ease and elegance of wrap around ballerina tops and skirts, formulating her own design to feature a woman’s best assets and boy, does it ever. It not only gives good cleavage, it wraps around the waist to look wonderfully womanly and its length is perfect. It’s long enough to be lady like, but short enough to be sexy, in a sophisticated way.  

What’s more, the wrap dress is proper enough for the office, pretty enough to wear to dinner and the perfect eye-pleaser for a cocktail party. In my opinion, it’s not just wonderful to wear because of all the aforementioned reasons, it’s also the new IT dress, nudging “the little black dress” to the back of the closet, not just in proximity, but in status. 

For me, it took awhile to shake my LBD habit, but eventually it happened. Mainly, because Diane made it so easy and effortless to get “Wrapped In Fashion.” My first two DVF wraps were indeed black, but as I grew older and more confident in my fashion choices, branching out became a beautiful thing.

As I slowly started trying Diane’s bright colors, fun patterns and seductive prints, my LBD just became so, what can I say, blah. Wearing her dresses then and now always leaves me feeling fresh, feisty and flirty, but most of all, I love the way her dresses cling to my curves like a new friend turned familiar lover. 

I don’t just adore her dresses, I’ve invested in them, because they are indeed, an investment and don’t let anyone tell you any different. If you keep your dress in pristine condition, it will hold its value and eventually turn vintage. Over the last decade, I’ve collected six, but I’m partial to the two sweater dresses pictured in this blog. I purchased them at the DVF store at The Bal Harbour Shops, where they always have a dazzling display of Diane’s dresses.

My favorite is the black one. It’s adorned with petal cutout lace on the shoulders and arms. It gives the dress a peek-a-boo-like quality. It’s by far THE most beautiful thing I own. The other is a sparkly heather grey, muted leopard print number. It’s soft, supple and sexy. 

I feel absolutely beautiful and beyond comfortable in both dresses. I’ve worn them to work, dinner parties and night clubs. I’ve even worn them to church. No, the church didn’t burst into flames, but I almost did, because those dresses are just so (dramatic pause) EVERYTHING. What I’m saying is, they’re the absolute go to in my closet for any occasion.  

For the record, I’ve interviewed Diane a couple of times and can I just tell you, she’s amazing! Like, the real deal. She’s gracious, grateful and gorgeous (inside and out.) She’s the reason that wrap dress is so wonderful. 

Once upon a time, forty years ago to be exact, Diane channeled her own love, positive energy, confidence and God-given beauty into that garment and willed it into existence and for decades, women have been wearing it well and that’s why being “Wrapped In Fashion” is one of my favorite things.

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photography by tod p/t4twophotography 
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Editor: Matthew Auerbach