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Interview: Diane von Furstenberg’s Ode to Joy for Spring 2015

diane von furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg always takes her bow to a song of her choosing, but at her show on Sunday afternoon, her selection — “Parole Parole,” a 1972 ballad by the legendary Italian chanteuse Mina — truly seemed to inject a little extra fire into the designer, who sang along with the lyrics as she traversed the full length of the runway, all the while encouraging us to sing along.

An hour earlier, von Furstenberg talked about what went into the choice. “I always want something familiar and something happy,” she said. “I want everyone to leave in a good mood.”

Even without the song, von Furstenberg would have gotten her wish. Hers was an exuberant show, filled with pieces that felt equal parts sexy, feminine and effervescent. Of course, it didn’t hurt that she capped the show with an appearance by Naomi Campbell, who likewise can put a smile on the face of even the most jaded fashion editor. “All the girls are beautiful, but you have Lily Donaldson making a return and starting the show, which is fantastic, and then Naomi closing, which is incredible,” said Michael Herz, who is in his first season as the artistic director at DVF. “It just shows the love models have for Diane, and she has for them. She wants that range of older girls mixed with the fresh faces. It’s a beautiful, true representation.”

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You also can credit the upbeat vibe to this new relationship between von Furstenberg and Herz, who curated her Journey of a Dress exhibition in Los Angeles earlier this year. “He did such an amazing job and he understands the brand so well, and he understands me,” von Furstenberg said. “I’ve been his inspiration for a long time, and it’s the perfect fit. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”

Von Furstenberg didn’t need to tell us; you could see it in the clothes. The show kicked off with Lily in a variation of the designer’s iconic wrap dress, this one in black and white gingham silk mikado, the drop-waist skirt crafted to flutter away from the body revealing plenty of leg. The look was followed by bra tops above full, mid-calf skirts that buttoned down the front as well as colorful floral print shifts and shorts paired with simply cut tops. “It was Côte d’Azur, the Riviera, the south of France and the 50s,” said von Furstenberg of her inspiration. “Really glamorous, and Brigitte Bardot and Picasso and Matisse. It’s about happiness and light and color and beautiful bodies and beautiful girls. All the things we need.”

Fabrics had been designed by the time Herz came on board, von Furstenberg said, and from there the conversations between the pair were effortless.

“Every image I put on my mood board, Diane has a story behind it because she knows everyone,” Herz said. “And that’s one of the things I love about her: I find her fascinating because she’s one of those people who surrounds herself with every generation of inspiration. And she encourages creativity, but she encourages you to think not just in a creative way, but also what works, what’s commercial, what’s going to sell, what’s not, why does it work and what suits a woman’s body. She’s really savvy about that.”

You’ll find von Furstenberg’s meditations on these and other lessons in the other project that’s been drawing her focus for more than a year: The Woman I Wanted to Be is her latest and possibly most personal book. Set for release on October 28, the completion of this autobiography left her feeling empowered, she said. “I’ve never gone through therapy, but I feel like I wrote this book with my blood,” she joked. “I’m satisfied with what it is; I’ve said it all, it’s my point of view, so now it’s no longer mine.” And with that, von Furstenberg was off to dance down her runway, reveling in the joy that can be found in a well-received collection, and a well-lived life.

images: IMAXtree

 

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