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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



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Diane von Furstenberg: A Woman For All Seasons

Renata Espinosa
February 15th, 2010 @ 00:44 AM - New York

In a world where definitions of what’s “feminine” are constantly being re-written and re-examined, it can be comforting to engage with the work of a designer who keeps a very particular ideal of womanhood in the foreground. For Diane von Furstenberg, the fundamentals of femininity have always been independence, effortlessness and above all, the very real possibilities of pleasure.

“Metamorphosis” was the theme for von Furstenberg’s fall 2010 show in New York on Sunday, Feb. 14, which suggested a transformation from one state to the next, but the designer was actually giving us a portrait of a woman at ease with an inner sense of self, whose transformations are all part of “fluidly adapting to every facet of her life,” according to the program notes. As a multifaceted woman herself - fashion designer, businesswoman, CFDA president and grandmother - she knows what she’s talking about.

“The freedom of a man,” the designer summed up post-show, “but the fun of being a woman,” meaning, you can have it both ways if you’ve got the right essentials. “Because there’s a lot of influence of men’s wear right now, it’s important to borrow your man’s jacket, but still you want to keep the feminine side of you.”

That sentiment translated into a melange of menswear-inflected looks layered atop frothy, tactile frocks that both played into traditional notions of the feminine and reinvented them. Of special note were the textures and vivid, inviting details in von Furstenberg’s presentation - as if to draw attention to a more thoughtful, and maybe more playful, way to present the femaleness of a figure. For instance, instead of emphasizing flowing lines and feminine outlines, some of these pieces revealed delightful intricacies like laser-cut flower silhouettes (gorgeous), or mirrored sequins in LED-light hues, rippling and flowing against a moving figure and shining out against the backdrop of a smart blazer.

The blazer was von Furstenberg’s key item for fall, but the blazers on view weren’t necessarily the kind worn for morning business meetings. If you wondered whether the “boyfriend” jacket trend has already been played out, it’s not going anywhere yet. But instead of pairing it with a predictable white t-shirt and jeans, Diane von Furstenberg’s prescription was to make it corduroy, thrown over a ruffled chiffon dress, or a version in grey suiting layered underneath a feminine bolero jacket made out of chiffon rosettes.

The futuristic tactile and textural elements of her dresses in this collection represented a bold new proposition for shoppers and will no doubt entice them to take a closer look. Even in a post-recession economy, it should be hard to say “Look but don’t touch” around a tulle dress built up like spun sugar, couture-like beaded embellishments or a soft biker jacket in wool bejeweled with metallic beads and paillettes. Just getting an eyeful of some of these paillettes - in puzzle-piece and origami shapes, with radiant holographic varnishes - was enough to make you want to reach for a handful of them.

At the end of the show, the designer took a stately walk down the runway, pausing to kiss her Valentine, husband Barry Diller and gather up her grandchildren, seated in the front row, who showered her with roses and joined her on the runway. “DVF really is the First Lady of Fashion,” wrote Elle editor Joe Zee via Twitter. We’d have to agree.

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