Diane Von Furstenberg & The Universally Flattering Frock

After our past four weeks discovering body types, I thought it would be a perfect time to let you all in on the one piece every gal needs in her wardrobe.

Yes it’s the wrap dress!

The wrap dress is 40 this year and still looking fresh and fabulous as she did in 1974.

In my opinion this is the most universally flattering frock ever designed.

It is the “go to” dress when you are feeling fat and frumpy.

It will see you through 1st dates, job interviews, weddings, parties, any occasion really.

How can one humble frock be so faultless and perform so many tricky tasks I hear you ask?

Well as we know creating the optimum shape is all about tricking the eye.

Add a curve where there is a straight line, as for a column shape, or soften a too dramatic curve as some pear shapes need to do.

The wrap dress is excellent for doing all that and more!

The year was 1972, and a innovative young woman named Diane Von Furstenberg opened her business in New York city.

It wasn’t long before she realised that women in this decade had new freedoms that were given them in the 60’s.

The times had changed and so had fashion. Working women needed clothes to be easy to wear and accessible.

In 1974 the iconic wrap dress was born.

Simple and sexy, her first designs had long sleeves, a fitted top, and a skirt that wrapped around the body to tie at the waist.

This was THE dress women had been wanting and waiting for, even if they didn’t know it!

Born in Brussels, Belgium in 1946, Diane majored in economics at the University of Geneva, this would hold her in good stead when she went out on her own.

In 1969 she worked for Angelo Ferretti, an Italian textile manufacturer, where she she produced a line of clothing.

These were mostly bias-cut shirtwaisters (a knee length shirt dress often belted at the waist) and tunic styles, but this is where she could hone her skills in the use of silk jersey.

In 1976, Von Furstenberg graced the cover of Newsweek magazine after the incredible success of the wrap dress, and to quote the magazine she was “the most marketable female in fashion since Coco Chanel”.

That’s a pretty grand statement, but definitely on the money.

Andy Warhol, arguably one of the most famous iconoclasts, agreed and immortalised Von Furstenberg as a subject in his polaroid series, cementing her place in pop culture.

In this year 2014, November sees the publishing of her memoirs “The Woman I Wanted To Be”.

I’m sure it will be filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes.

What makes this dress so ideal?

I think it is the fact it is so simple.

It can cater to any age and socio-economic group.

This is a frock without airs and graces, frills or tizz.

It simply does what it sets out to do, which is look superb on any figure.

It also lends itself to plain or print fabric.

Just take a look at Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

She caused a frenzy when she wore a fabulous navy and white ikat batik print DVF wrap dress on the Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand in April of this year.

She teamed hers with navy Stuart Weitzman wedges and a navy clutch.

It was a huge hit and sold out in eight minutes flat!

How’s that for star power!

America’s first lady Michelle Obama is a fan too, looking faultless in a black and white chain link print version.

The neckline is excellent, being a deep V draws the eye to the waist, perfect for the hourglass shape.

Then for a column shape, the tie at the waist adds shape.

For the pear shape, the A-line skirt skims the hips, softening heavier thighs.

And if an apple shape opts for a small print, it confuses the eye into not knowing what is fabric and what is body.

Last, but not least, if petites choose this in one colour it creates the unbroken line to add height.

And for every shape that may have heavy arms, it has long sleeves to hide any imperfections.

So you can see why the wrap dress is celebrating 40 years of fabulousness.

It is universally flattering, it can be dressed up or down, worn at any occasion.

Isn’t that something every woman needs in her wardrobe?

CiaoJo Bayley, Fashion Elixir, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

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