Leopard is always in season but I find myself pulling out my leopard pieces especially now, as temperatures cool and I need strong accents to highlight the black. If you haven’t purchased a leopard accessory in a while, try now. Start small – a pair of shoes, a belt, a blouse – these pack a big fashion punch.
Yesterday was my birthday. The minute I saw that the sun was shining, I pictured myself celebrating the day in my Diane von Furstenberg summer wrap dress. That’s how it has been for me – every morning, since I was three years old (when my mom says that she could no longer dress me!). I awaken with an idea of how I want to express myself that day. Every piece of clothing, every accessory, has to be mine. I don’t know how to live another way.
Now that I have turned 56, I see no need to change. You are as young as you feel but I don’t feel any age. Some days I want to look one way, some days another. I never know what that will be until the day begins. What I do know is that the choices I make will not be based on what I think I should wear but what I want to wear. This is what 56 looks like!
Dress, Diane von Furstenberg; Shoes, Talbots; Photos by Alexandra
“Today I consider myself the luckiest girl on the face of the Earth,” Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Betsey Johnson
I smiled when I heard that designer Betsey Johnson was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) event Monday night. I love Betsey Johnson. I think the fashion world loves her too. She has been a fashion designer for 50 years debuting her signature label in 1978; creating feminine and whimsical yet edgy and modern clothes. I remember borrowing my mother’s Betsey Johnson red plaid corduroy blazer as a teenager (where is that now??) and I remember a few years later buying my own Betsey Johnson dress. It was a feminine, floral print with bold colors and puffed sleeves; I felt like I had made it – owning a Betsey Johnson dress was a true right of passage!
Betsey Johnson says she is a workaholic and she loves the work. But it’s much more than just her body of work. It’s her resilience, it’s the fact that she remains relevant after all this time. Betsey Johnson is a survivor – she has been tested and she keeps coming back … with a cartwheel and a split!
The earring police? Too often we tell ourselves when it comes to accessories; if it’s too big, too bold, too different from our usual, and even too age-inappropriate, we shouldn’t try. In these moments we are forgetting the most important thing about fashion: it is all about self expression and sometimes that means stepping out of our comfort zone. Especially when we really love something. These purple drop earrings designed by talented artist Heather Duetsch caught my eye – and there is no reason why I should hesitate to wear them – especially if the price is right. Inspired by the dramatic jewelry worn by style icon Diane von Furstenberg, I ditched my usual simple, button style earrings for something much more playful. Try it – step out and dangle a little!
I love reading stories about strength and survival and compassion and romance. And I especially love reading about people’s lives and the things that really happen to them, because there is always that moment when you know that nothing fictional could come close to the reality of life. That is where the beauty is – that is where the surprise is. One may think of designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg a certain way, but I guarantee that if you read her memoir, The Woman I Wanted To Be, you will be amazed to know the life she has led and that this woman is real.
Her words are honest and endearing and forthcoming …
On her mother, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück: “I feel it is my duty to make up for all the suffering she endured, to always celebrate freedom and live fully. My birth was her triumph. She was not supposed to survive; I was not supposed to be born. We proved them wrong. We both won the day I was born.”
On taking time with yourself: “You cannot have a good relationship with anyone, unless you first have it with yourself … I was lucky to start a relationship with myself very early in life. I am not sure why; maybe because I had no sibling until the age of six and I was alone a lot, or maybe because I was taught from an early age to be responsible for myself and for my actions.”
On confronting cancer at the age of forty-seven: “I became more compassionate to the sufferings of others, appreciated the value of health, became more spiritual and understood both my fragility and my strength.”
On taking chances in life: “I’ve long believed that the ‘if’s’ were the doors to my future, and I dared to open them, one by one, as they came along. I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be but I didn’t know how I would become her. Opening those doors led me on a path to fashion, and that became the path to the woman I am today.”
On the nature of Nature: “Nature is never still. Things are growing, ripening, aging, fading, and then starting again. The trees are beautiful even when bare. I love every phase and I am endlessly fascinated by that life cycle moving on. Nature never stops.”
Need an extra lift? A hint of the unexpected? A touch of leopard is always a good idea and my favorite accessory. Belts, bags, or shoes, leopard is so versatile that it can replace any and all neutrals. And this print never goes out of style. These DVF leopard heels were a consignment-shop steal at $50. Check your closets now for leopard!
One dress, one go-to, one fashion workhorse; that is my Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. It’s been a long love affair and one that has taken me through important times and moments of my life. It has celebrated weddings and parties, negotiated serious lunch meetings, and held up my heavy heart at funerals. There is no place we haven’t been together; we have lived a lot and lived well.
It is no surprise to me that the DVF wrap dress celebrated its 40th birthday last year. Who else but Diane von Furstenberg could design a dress so perfect for every woman? At once flirty and fun yet serious and simple, the wrap dress combines all the elements to make a woman her best self. Yes, this fashion staple has been with me for at least 20 years, looking as fresh and beautiful as it did the first time I wore it. No wonder I am in love!
Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom; shot on location at Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit NJ
(Schmatta (Yiddish) (n.) Rags: Don’t go out of the house wearing that schmatta!)
Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress turns 40 this year: this simple, easy-to-wear, dress-up-or-dress-down, sexy, flattering dress is everything and NOTHING like a schmatta! On Friday night, in Los Angeles, Ms. von Furstenberg threw a party to celebrate the dress and to kick off the new exhibit, ‘Journey of a Dress,’ at Wilshire May Co. Building, Los Angeles, which runs now through April 1st. “This is the first time that I ever honored the wrap dress, and she did so much for me. She made me famous. She paid for all my bills. And tonight we celebrate the wrap dress.” ~ Diane von Furstenberg
Last night I had an intimate conversation with Diane von Furstenberg. It felt that way as I watched “Shop the Hangout with Diane von Furstenberg,” a new online shopping experience with Google+, in partnership with The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). This was the first of what will be several future ‘Shop the Hangouts‘ with designers. Interviewed by Eva Chen, Editor-in-Chief of Lucky Magazine, the conversation became a global hangout as special guest, beauty expert and entrepreneur Michelle Phan and five women from around the world had questions for Diane. It was 40 minutes of pure magic. That’s because Diane von Furstenberg is wise and witty and wonderful. Here are some DVF thoughts, life advice and uplifting inspirations:
On the wrap dress: “A good thing is good forever … So many people have wrap stories … I decided that to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress we are collecting stories and photographs. Continue reading
Last week’s New York Times Magazine featured a story that caught my eye: Next year Diane von Furstenberg’s classic wrap dress celebrates its 40th birthday. And with this milestone is the acknowledgment of a fashion icon. I like the message behind her comment: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” Now when I wear my special DVF wrap dress I will not only think about its creator but also about the woman I want to be. Thank you, Diane von Furstenberg.
What do you think?