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Any Naomi Campbell sighting tends to send even the most jaded fashion press into a bit of a frenzy, and so it was on Sunday afternoon at Diane von Furstenberg’s spring/summer 2015 presentation. When the supermodel hit the stage, you felt the energy build as she rounded the corner after the runway’s first half, and by the time she was sauntering up the second half, the cheers and the smartphones held aloft were at their highest.
Other designers could learn a thing or two from how von Furstenberg casts a show. “All the girls are beautiful, but you have Lily Donaldson making a return and starting the show, which is fantastic, and then Naomi closing, which is incredible,” says Michael Herz, who is in his first season as the artistic director at DVF. “It just shows the love models have for Diane, and she has for them. She wants that range of older girls mixed with the fresh faces. It’s a beautiful, true representation.” Kendall Jenner also joined Donaldson and Campbell to make her DVF runway debut.
Herz earned von Furstenberg’s notice when he curated her “Journey of a Dress” exhibition at LACMA earlier this year, making the conversation about coming into the fold an easy one, he says. “We spent a lot of time together on her exhibition, and I guess she liked me and I liked her,” he says. “I have always found her incredibly inspiring.”
“Michael came into my life with the LACMA show and did an amazing job; I absolutely love him,” von Furstenberg says. “He understands the brand so well, and he understands me. It’s the perfect fit. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”
DVF’S DARLING: Kendall Jenner (Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Perhaps that’s why this collection felt so utterly joyful, kicking off with Donaldson in a black-and-white gingham wrap top with matching romper-like knit shorts (under a poplin skirt unbuttoned to the waist), through a succession of more gingham looks and a series of flowing dresses in bright floral prints. We’ve already seen quite a few ’50s-inspired collections this week, with their wasp-like waists and full mid-calf skirts, but none quite so sensuous as those on DVF’s runway, which made the snippet of Barry White on the soundtrack an apt choice. The inspiration? “It was Cote d’Azur, the Riviera, the south of France and the ’50s,” von Furstenberg notes. “Really glamorous, and Brigitte Bardot and [Pablo] Picasso and [Henri] Matisse. It’s about happiness and light and color and beautiful bodies and beautiful girls. All the things we need.”
Also top of mind for von Furstenberg this season: Her latest and possibly most personal book, The Woman I Wanted to Be (Simon & Schuster), set for release Oct. 28. “I’ve never gone through therapy, but I feel like I wrote this book with my blood,” she jokes. “I’m satisfied with what it is; I’ve said it all, it’s my point of view, so now it’s no longer mine.”
An hour after she talked about the book and what has quickly matured into an undeniable lovefest with Herz, von Furstenberg took her bow, walking the runway to the song of her choosing, 1972’s Parole Parole Parole by the legendary Italian songstress Mina. The title translates to “Words, words, words,” which clearly have been on the designer’s mind lately. But other lyrics — roughly translated, “If you didn’t exist, someone would have to invent you” — point to the optimism found in the first blush of love, and that’s no accident, especially when combined with this exuberant collection, says von Furstenberg.
“I wanted something familiar and something happy,” she adds. “I wanted everyone to leave in a good mood.”
(Photo credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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