The wrap dress was invented by the wonderful Diane von Furstenberg, who is not only one of the best fashion designers in the world but a style icon as well. The features of her creation are really quite simple: it wraps around you like a hug, it’s exceptionally soft (because it’s usually made of jersey), the ties that wrap around the waist emphasise the curves beautifully and cover any flaws. It’s just perfect. I’ve written about the little black dress and its perfection many times but we rarely touch on the subject of the wrap dress and tend to forget about it altogether. Its great advantage is that it suits tall and slender women, who don’t have trouble picking out their outfits, while at the same time being an ideal choice for women with a few extra pounds. The wrap dress looks gorgeous on a woman with curves, some hips and cleavage, and with its help you’ll look like a real femme fatale. The V-neck and ties make it flawlessly elegant, which makes it useful for daytime as well as evenings; you can always combine it with a leather jacket, a coat and some nice jewellery. I personally like it with stilettos, even though some like to wear it with ballet flats and flat sandals. The original version by Diane von Furstenberg is undoubtedly impeccable, however, her model has been copied so many times that there are quite a few different versions on the market, which can be just as effective and surely less expensive.
Its ideal length is at the knees or just below and yes, it can seem a bit like a dressing robe, but don’t think it doesn’t have any form, far from it. It’s one of those typical pieces that you have to put on and wear to see its form. Its magical effect will become clear instantly. Like the many discoveries that have marked our history, the wrap dress came to be out of pure coincidence. It all started happening around 1970 when the newlywed Diane and Egon von Furstenberg considered moving to America; the young Belgian designer was in love, pregnant, and didn’t have a very clear idea about her future. She finished a degree in economy in Geneva, but worked at a textile company in Como, Italy. The only thing she firmly believed was that she is independent and will do everything on her own. Her mother, who miraculously and with the help of her own strong will survived Auschwitz, had raised her to be certain of this: she had imparted on her daughter the conviction that women are strong and should not forget this. Diane got permission from her employer to make a series of machine-made clothes, which she packed in her suitcase and travelled to New York. What was waiting for her there was indifference: she was beautiful, glamorous, she had created wonderful dresses, but it just wasn’t enough.
That is when the legendary Diana Vreeland interfered; she recognised the designers talent in the smoothly falling, colourful and sexy dresses, and so the door to success opened for Diane. She reached the peak of her career in 1974, when the wrap dress was officially presented on the market as the simple, kimono style dress without zippers or buttons, which you can slip into easily and as Diane whimsically explained, was perfect for quietly sneaking out of a bedroom after a passionate night of lovemaking. The dress is truly practical and sexy; it’s made of jersey, it emphasises the curves nicely and it’s just what the women of that time needed: a sultry and elegant dress that they feel good in and suits them beautifully. Diane said that the wrap dress is a feminist dress and a symbol of freedom; she sold a million pieces in two years, she was on the cover of Newsweek in 1976, and was pronounced as one of the most influential women in the fashion world; she became an independence and entrepreneurial icon. She got a divorce in the mean time, raised her two children alone, and ran a successful business while driving herself to Studio 54 in a Mercedes in the evenings. She got jaded in time and decided to drop everything. It wasn’t until the mid ’90s that her daughter-in-law opened her eyes to the fact that a new generation of beautiful, confident and charming women needs her and her famous dress. The wrap dress has become an important part of history, an object of studies, and a symbol of a contemporary woman, born in the ’70s, that is kept in museums. Diane was reborn. It was 1997. The designer has been in motion ever since then and does not intend to stop.