Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Lessons Diane von Furstenberg Taught Me

My third day under the tents had to be one of the most rewarding days of my entire life. I guess for the past few days I've been trying to find ways to truly sum up my sentiments in a blog post. But words can't express how completely honored I was on that day, to be in the Theatre at Lincoln Centre for the Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2012 runway show. It was an absolute dream come true, and I'll explain why...

My first DVF show - Spring 2001 (watched it on TV!)
DVF has been one of my inspirations probably since 7th or 8th grade when I first caught the "fashion" bug. One day I came home after school, flipped on the TV and landed on the Metro channel. In NYC, the Metro channel was the only channel to broadcast runway shows just days after they had gone on at Bryant Park, where the fashion week tents used to be. On that particular day, I decided to skip the afternoon cartoons and tune into this fascinating thing called a runway show. That's the day I discovered DVF. Her show started playing on the TV and I was mesmerized. At the time, folks like stylist Robert Verdi and current Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine, Constance White, were giving expert commentary on the shows. That's the moment I fell in love with fashion.

As an esteemed and respected woman of society, and an entrepreneur, I've always looked up to Diane von Furstenberg and I've been enchanted by her style and grace. Her ability to make clothing that makes women feel good about themselves is uncanny. I mean, after all, she's the original creator of the wrap dress! It doesn't get more feel-good than that. And her overall mantra of being well-rounded is something that has inspired me tremendously. Here are three life lessons anyone can learn from DVF:

1. Stand For Something

In a time during the 70's when women's independence was a high priority, DVF stood out and made clothing that was not just beautiful but tailored for the working woman. She made clothing for the women who "had it all" - successful careers & families - but still wanted to be elegant & feminine. And as an aspiring entrepreneur, that's what I want one day. Everything DVF represents is about empowering people to be more than just the status quo. Now as the President of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers Association), she pushes important initiatives in the fashion industry like increasing diversity on the runway, discouraging unhealthy practices like anorexia, and keeping underage models out of the industry until they're mature enough to join.

2. Change, But Remain The Same.

Although DVF shows a different collection each season, she has a signature style and aesthetic that remains the same at its core. She has something that works well for her and she uses that to her advantage. When she struck gold with the wrap dress in the 70's, she could've stayed there. But she kept moving, she kept innovating. And season after season, women of all ages, shapes & sizes buy her pieces because they're timeless yet intriguing. With the fashion industry saturated, it's difficult for designers to make timeless clothing that's classic but still exciting. DVF manages to do that.

I truly believe that applies beyond fashion. You should be known for something. And although in different stages of life, we grow & adjust to new circumstances, the core of your being should never change.

3. You Can Have It All

Some people seem to believe that it's close to impossible unless you have 3 nannies and a 7 figure salary to have it all and be truly happy. I beg to differ. Aside from my own mother showing me that it's possible (with four kids, a bustling career, a husband & a great life), I've heard DVF talk about it as well. Though it's always important to take time out for yourself, it's not completely impossible to have success in multiple areas of your life. It takes skill, and prioritizing but if DVF can do it, so can we!

 What about you guys? Is there anyone in the fashion industry who has inspired you? Soundoff below!
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  1. This is an amazing post on an amazing woman. I too remember watching the runway shows on Metro! I used to tape every single one.

  2. She is so elegant! And always encouraging woman to Be the Woman You want to Be!!!

  3. Diane is one of my personal idols and her life is a true testament that it is ok to want and have it all! Love this post Christina, she truly is an inspiration!

  4. What an amazing opportunity! I love how she just simply exudes class!

  5. I love DVF too! I have to admit though, I think I was inspired by Grace Kelly. Kinda old school, I know, but I can't help the feeling I get when I see the clothes. I wish that era would make a comeback.

  6. Great post. it is always nice to stand for something because if you dont stand for something you practically fall for anything that wouldn't motivate you or uplift.

    x Moyo


  7. Love the bit about changing but staying the same that is super valuable advice.

  8. Amazing post. Love this and love DVF. Hoping for a post on your experience with the wrap dresses all over the city! Loving your involvement with her brand Xo

  9. you are very BEAUTIFUL and I love your blog. XoXo


  10. She is one of my favorite designers of all time as well. This post was so inspiring, I loved the story of how you became to know her as a designer. Beautiful!



  11. If God made anything more beautiful than Woman he kept it for himself She is so elegant! and beautiful, I admire too much her...