Updated May 14, 2023

Meeting with Diane von Fürstenberg

By Shana Devleschoudere
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The "Woman Before Fashion" exhibition at the Musée Mode & Dentelle in Brussels is the very first museum exhibition dedicated to Diane von Fürstenberg in Europe. Exclusive interview with the fabulous woman and designer.

Diane von Furstenberg. Woman Before Fashion presents the work and person of the celebrated Belgian-American fashion designer. The exhibition takes a more intimate look at the highlights of her career. The aim is to highlight the creator as a designer in the design sense of the term. Through a selection of over 50 models and a vast iconography, the exhibition starts with fashion and ends with women. The first chapter is devoted to an analytical presentation of the wrap dress. The famous wrap dress, the main theme of the exhibition, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Designed by Diane, the printed jersey silhouette is placed in a broader context. The tour continues with a look at her inspirations, both in prints, the central focus of her creative process, and in the shapes she imagines. Taking a more documentary approach, the third chapter looks at the designer's arrival in the United States and her American dream. Exclusive tête-à-tête with Diane von Furstenberg, one of the most influential women in fashion according to Forbes.

Roger Prigent

Eventail.be - Do you remember the moment when you created the mythical wrap dress?

Diane von Fürstenberg - I was working for a company that made prints. That was the first thing I learned, how to make prints. Then I was drawn to fabrics, mainly jersey. First I thought of a t-shirt, then a t-shirt dress, which became a polo, then a polo dress, finally a wrap top like the ones dancers wear, and finally the wrap dress was born.

Ryan Dorsett

- How has it been revisited over the years?
-The original still exists. It's never happened to a dress to have a life of 50 years. Short, long, with or without sleeves... It's become a uniform, but above all it's been revisited in terms of materials, colors, shapes, prints... But always with the idea of being timeless.

© E. Laurent

- How was the exhibition conceived?

- First of all, it's not my exhibition; I'm just the subject. Nicolas Lor, a young man, is the curator. This was his first exhibition, and I'm very flattered that he chose me. Of course, he spent time with me, and came to the country to visit my archives. He chose the theme of the dress, but there's also the whole aspect of freedom, prints and nature that he brought to the fore. A real relationship developed with Nicolas. I really appreciated having someone else's point of view on my work.

DR

- An exhibition that will travel?
-I' d love to...(if not confirmed at the time of writing, it should be in the future, editor's note).

- What are your habits when you return home, to Brussels to be precise?
-First I see my brother, of course. I usually stay with him. I go for a walk in the Bois de la Cambre, see my childhood friend Mireille de Hanovre - we went to kindergarten together. I also like to go for a wonderful meal... In the United States, it's not the same...

Cover photo: © E. Laurent


Article written by Florence Thibaut, published on Eventail.be. Find other articles on gastronomy, gotha, art and culture, fashion, decoration and heritage, and entrepreneurship at www.eventail.be.