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Diane Von Furstenberg's Broken Floral Dream

Godfrey Deeny
September 11th, 2011 @ 8:02 PM - New York

In a season over run with floral prints, far too many of them formulaic, retro miss-mashes, it was a merciful relief to attend the latest collection by Diane von Furstenberg on Sunday, Sept. 11, and enjoy the far more inventive patterns created by the DVF team.

Where other brands offered hackneyed florals - remix via a digital photo computer program - DVF sent out far more painterly fare, where the very erratic quirks of the designs made the whole collection looks so much more powerful.

If one had any doubt of the importance of prints both this season and at von Furstenberg, one had only to look at the runway - a beige and white carpet, in an off-beat petal pattern.

That said, the show opened with a couple of all-white looks, forgivingly cool wrap mannish shirts and dresses - albeit one in floral lace - that summed up the slightly forced gaiety of this week in New York.

The designer said the collection was targeted at the "nomadic," who "embraces all that is new." Like, well, Japanese Kimono style patterns that looked great, especially used in some cocktail dresses embroidered with sequins; or a stupendous shirt dress meets kaftan at the finale, ideal for hosting a party on a Caribbean monster yacht.

The easy attitude was emphasized by the loose, beehive chignon hairdos the models sported above some great new chicly nerdish high-tech shades.

Terms like "bud-landscape" or "pop meadow" riddled the program notes, as well they should have, as abstract garden imagery was the key to this show, in a season where New York designers are obsessed with injecting spring-time color bonhomie into the gloomy mood of the Great Recession.

Von Furstenberg also tapped into another key trend - the giant pocket. Lifted from active sports clothing, the roomy exterior pockets finished both safari jackets and cargo shorts, even if one assumes no women will ever want to put anything much inside them. Since that would spoil the silhouette and really would not do.

At the finale, von Furstenberg took her bow with design partner Yvan Mispeleare as she hand out mini American flags to friends in the front row, all to great applause.

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