When Diane von Furstenberg told me to stand up and raise my arms above my waist, I was slightly embarrassed, but completely enthralled at the same time. She wanted to teach me the proper way to tie her famous wrap dress. So I, of course, did exactly as the fashion icon ordered. “The Amelia looks really good on you,” she said happily and explained the reason I was styled in the dress.
“I designed it to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress,” Diane said proudly, as she ripped the sealed pockets of the frock open. “Has Shireen been gifted this dress?” Diane inquisitively asked her assistant. “No, not yet,” her assistant chirped. “Well then, this is my gift to you,” Diane said matter-of-factly as she reached for my waist. Overwhelmed by her gesture, I mumbled how honored I was and watched as she untied the bow that I had carefully cinched before our interview.
“All you have to do is tie this one under and this one over. Voila! See, you don’t need a bow. It will stay put, you’ll see.” I nodded vehemently, as she easily corrected something I had obviously been doing wrong for the majority of my adult fashion life. My face flushed with redness; it wasn’t because I was embarrassed, either.
It was because Diane von Furstenberg, herself, the woman, the designer, the legend, the person who had created this incredibly stylish, beyond beautiful dress had not only generously gifted it to me, but had unpretentiously proceeded to show me the proper way to tie it. Despite having a career jam-packed with celebrity encounters, it was an incredible moment, one that I will never forget. It felt different; special, even.
Perhaps it was the affectionate fawning she showered over me, the sincerity of it or the fact that we both shared a deep love and passion for fashion. Whatever it was, I held back the tears as the moment unfolded. In her presence, I felt undeniably “Wrapped in Beauty.” Later that day, when I got back to the Deco Drive offices, I tried explaining the encounter to my blog editor, Matthew Auerbach, who I endearingly call Matty.
I didn’t expect him to understand, but he surprised me by replying: “I totally get it; it’s like a Yankees fan getting a batting lesson from Derek Jeter.” I shook my head in total agreement and replied: “Yes, that’s exactly it.” Matty then proceeded to tell me if I didn’t write about the exchange between Diane and myself I’d have to be insane. Actually, I think he said nuts and I definitely don’t want him thinking I’m nuts.
There are a lot of reasons why DVF, the woman is so special. The magnitude of her individuality and what makes her so appealing is perhaps best explained in her new book “The Woman I Wanted To Be,” a candid and heartfelt memoir about her relationship with her mother (who was a survivor of Auschwitz,) her many lovers and her incredible rise to fame as a fashion designer.
I sat down with Diane recently at her pop-up store in the Aventura Mall, a beautiful space partially dedicated to her Los Angeles exhibit, “Journey of a Dress” celebrating the 40th anniversary of her famous wrap dress. We talked about her new book, her new reality show and in short, just what an astonishing year it’s been for her.