A Moment in the Sun with Diane von Furstenberg
“Parole! Parole!” blared the great Italian song from the 1970s, as Diane von Furstenberg sashayed down the runway, putting in the shade even a smiling Naomi Campbell wearing a white baby-doll dress splattered with colour.
But there was no shade in this sun-drenched DVF collection, where the golden era of the French Riviera was played out in gingham, printed on anything from a bra top to a handbag.
“It’s all about St Tropez, about colour and beauty and sun,” – said the designer backstage to describe the spirit of this collection.
The French have been celebrating a half-century of Brigitte Bardot, the sulky, steamy, baby-faced film star who embodied the spirit of the South of France in the 1950s and ’60s. Her childlike sexiness, served up in denim, made her the movie-poster girl of her time.
But DVF is far too smart to make carbon copies from fashion’s past. She worked the gingham into pert dresses, black-and-white check skirts dressed up with bubble-gum pink plastic – and not all in the traditional cotton. Floaty chiffon gave a different dimension to the checks.
There were plenty of other prints to counter-balance these graphic checks: bold flowers, stripes, Matisse-style cut-out leaves, or just plain lace.
From coats to long dresses, these were clothes to be worn by those sporty, sexy women who have graced their curvaceous bodies with the iconic DVF wrap dress.
This kind of fashion is not, as they say, brain surgery. It is, rather, creativity light. But Diane has survived for all these years because of her right-on attitude to – and for –women. These were dresses, skirts and pants in which you stride out, confident of your sexuality.
Backstage, at the models’ entrance, was posted a board that read: “Be happy, be sexy, be the woman you want to be. Smile!”
We have heard it all before. But this was DVF at her most compelling.