Talking fashion with Diane von Furstenberg

As part of Singapore Fashion Week, which ended last Sunday, several fashion talks were held at Lasalle College of the Arts.

Here are five things which we learnt from the session with designer Diane von Furstenberg and Council of Fashion Designers of America chief executive officer Steven Kolb.

Founded in 1962, the council - of which von Furstenberg is president and Kolb, its chief executive officer - is older than Singapore. Its designer members do not necessarily have to be American citizens, but they have to be working in the United States.

At von Furstenberg's first meeting with legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland - one of the designer's early supporters - the editor came in with a big, long cigarette holder, red lips and told von Furstenberg to keep her "chin up, up!".

The famous wrap dress was not the first piece of clothing that von Furstenberg designed. She started with shirtdresses, T-shirt dresses and tunics with pants. A wrap top and skirt were eventually combined to produce the first wrap dress in 1974.

At first, von Furstenberg was not sure whether she wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress last year. "It makes me sound so old," she joked.

Designer Christian Lacroix once said to von Furstenberg that male designers make costumes, while female designers make clothes.

She agreed eventually, pointing out that designers such as herself, Donna Karan, Madeleine Vionnet and Norma Kamali used jersey, a fabric which does not look like much, but feels great.

This article was first published on May 22, 2015.
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