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Harper's Bazaar - February 2014

For a woman whose life is so fabulously well documented, Diane von Furstenberg is not particularly nostalgic. "The best time of my life is now, because I have all the facts," the designer says. However, when coaxed to reflect on the inception of her iconic wrap dress (which turns 40 this year), von Furstenberg recalls: "My first goal was to be independent. I was working at Angelo Ferretti's textile factory in Rome. I was pregnant, I was engaged [to Egon von Furstenberg], and I was moving to America, but I wanted to keep working. So I created a top inspired by the kind that ballerinas wear over their tutu, with a matching skirt." 

That concept, what she calls "an old shape, like a kimono, crisscrossing over the body," evolved into a dress, rendered in printed jersey that sluiced over the female frame. "It was a nothing little dress, but it became a major thing—the easiest, simplest, most flattering thing a woman could wear." It also became the linchpin of her fashion empire. 

The dress now stars in an exhibition at L.A.'s Wilshire May Company Building and will feature prominently in von Furstenberg's upcoming book, The Woman I Wanted to Be. "Nobody ever thought my dress would be important. People said, 'Well, she's not really a designer.' But the truth is," she says, smiling, "I made a dress that was immortal. That dress taught me about women, confidence, designing. I owe everything to that dress."

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