fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

That’s a Wrap!

The Journey of a Dress

By Jordan Staggs | Photography by Moda Alma Photography

“Feel like a woman, wear a dress!”

These words illuminated the polished corridor leading into the Journey of a Dress exhibition at the Wilshire May Company Building in Los Angeles. The journey is that of the wrap dress, to be exact. Designer Diane von Furstenberg debuted her first wrap style in 1974 when she was just twenty-six years old, and it was the dress that launched her career as well as her destiny to become an icon of fashion and feminism. The exhibition is her love letter to the dress as a celebration of its fortieth anniversary—and the dress is still kickin’. The versatile style, which wraps around itself in the front and ties at the waist, has been worn by women around the world since its debut. Celebrities, models, and girls and women everywhere have worn it with ease, exuding an air of beauty that can only stem from confidence.

“I’m going to celebrate what this dress means, which is freedom and empowerment and confidence,” Diane von Furstenberg said at the opening of the exhibition in LA as she sported a kimono-inspired wrap design herself. The dress changed her life and the lives of many women, according to von Furstenberg. As she and fashion model Coco Rocha perused the vintage photographs and advertisements of the wrap dress that line the entrance hall of the exhibition—the same building that housed the May Company department store where the wrap dress was sold in the 1970s—she jokingly said the dress paid all her bills. She wasn’t joking about the simple design’s success, however. Esteemed Vogue editor Diana Vreeland praised von Furstenberg’s first silk jersey wrap dresses and subsequently got her onto the calendar at New York Fashion Week. The dresses—and von Furstenberg herself—haven’t slowed down since.

Rita Hayworth, Madonna, Michelle Obama, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are just a few celebrities to don the wrap dress over the years. It’s also been seen on the silver screen on Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver and on Amy Adams in the recent 1970s-inspired comedy-drama American Hustle. The vintage piece worn by Adams is on display as one of two hundred dresses featured in the exhibition.

Another part of the Journey of a Dress exhibit is devoted to portraits of the designer created in various media by artists from around the world, including her friend Andy Warhol, whose poppy and dollar sign patterns have been seen in von Furstenberg’s collections for years.

Diane von Furstenberg’s designs have long been inspiring and empowering women to feel they can do anything men can do, and her efforts have earned her praise throughout the decades.

Diane von Furstenberg’s designs have long been inspiring and empowering women to feel they can do anything men can do, and her efforts have earned her praise throughout the decades. She was selected as a 2013 Women of Vision awardee by the Ms. Foundation, has become president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and is on the board of Vital Voices, an organization that focuses on helping women in leadership and social positions around the world make a difference. She has also founded various charities and made myriad contributions to organizations supporting the arts, fashion, and women’s rights. Whether inspired by her mother or her daughter, von Furstenberg has always striven to be a voice of “girl power,” working to stamp out the insecurities women are burdened with due to conventional ideas of beauty and body image. She, too, used to feel awkward and out of place in her native home, Belgium, where other girls had straight blonde hair, a stark contrast to her own curly brunette locks. She has recalled feeling “like an alien” compared to her peers.

You’re not born comfortable, but to be uncomfortable is so not practical and not attractive.

“You’re not born comfortable, but to be uncomfortable is so not practical and not attractive,” von Furstenberg said during an interview about the Journey of a Dress at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “You may as well be comfortable and accept you. You have to accept who you are. And it’s not always great. I mean, sometimes I feel terrible and look horrible, and then I have to take pictures. But then I just go for it, and then it’s okay. You just go for it. And that’s it! Life is very short. Insecurity is a waste of time.”

Once again, a designer’s inspiration has proven to be that true fashion is about self-expression through the art of clothing. A great dress makes the wearer feel comfortable and confident in her own skin—and in what covers it.

— V —


The Diane von Furstenberg Journey of a Dress exhibition is on display until April 1, 2014, at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Visit dvf.com/wrap40 to learn more.

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail