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Diane von Furstenberg: Confused Not Cool

Godfrey Deeny
September 13th, 2009 @ 9:06 PM - New York

Diane von Furstenberg, who divides her time between designing and her duties as the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, presented her latest collection on Sunday, Sept. 13 in New York that tapped into her longstanding fascination with exotic travel and the female adventurer.

However, the result was a garish, gaudy mish-mash of prints and glitz. There was simply far too much going on, as tiger prints fought territorial wars with leopard knits in looks fitted out with lumpy, bauble-embellished clutches.

“Rising like a phoenix, she is a modern myth, the queen of the desert, a true adventurer exploring and enticing,” gushed the program notes. It’s all very well sampling distant and disparate imagery and ideas from the Orient to Egypt, but if they are thrown together haphazardly like this collection came across, the result ends up looking like the kitchen sink.

Other regrettable errors included the forgetful “forever” green chiffon tank dress with kitschy mesh finish, or loud and showy blue chiffon dresses with absurd ruffles, at best ideal for a gangster’s moll from Omsk or Tomsk.

Adding to the confusion was truly weird hair – long, crinkled blond locks forced down on the skull - irritating pink cheek blush and truly inane metallic leaves plastered on the models’ heads, i.e., a look no woman would wear out of the house other than to attend a campy vampire-themed party.

A handful of looks worked, like a very fine macramé, beaded, ideal-for-Ibiza mini cocktail dress that had lots of sass, a one-shouldered leotard bathing suit, some charming beaded bracelets and few exuberant beaded purses that had great charm. But that’s a modest sum for a designer who at her best can justly claim to have empowered fashion and countless women with a certain elegantly sexy panache.

Just like its soundtrack, which mingled up Debussy and disco, this show was confused. And you know what blasted out of the speaker? That old, dance favorite “Neurotic,” which did seem apt for this particularly overanxious fashion moment.

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