The envelope dress – find out the story behind Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic design

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Not long ago, 45 years ago, the first envelope dress by Diane von Furstenberg was created, which completely changed women’s lives. Within a few years, the “wrap dress” sold several million copies. It won the hearts of women and fashion designers around the world.

Who is Diane von Fürstenberg?

Diane von Fürstenberg is a famous fashion designer, who is now listed on a par with the most popular representatives of the fashion world, such as Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and Coco Chanel. Together with them she made a revolutionary step that changed the perception of the fashion world. All of the aforementioned figures stood out from the rest, and their work changed the fashion market forever. Diane von Fürstenberg became famous for her design of the envelope dress, which is now known by women all over the world. The dress is handy, has no fastenings or buttons. What is more, it perfectly emphasizes feminine shapes. Already in 1974 many of its advantages were noticed. It was the perfect choice for women who worked during the day and went out to elegant dinners in the evening. It represented a simple outfit that was suitable for any occasion

And who is Diane von Fürstenberg in private? She is a very strong, independent woman who was raised by a Russian immigrant and a Greek Jewish woman. Her mother survived a stay in a concentration camp, which had a great impact on her further life. The designer herself says that she gained her strength of spirit and self-confidence from her upbringing, and her mother instilled in her that fear is never the solution. Diane left her native Brussels as a teenager to study in the UK. She went on to study in Madrid, then entered the University of Geneva, where she met her husband, the young Prince Egon von Fürstenberg.

How was the envelope dress created?

The idea for the prototype of the dress was born when Diane worked in one of the Italian manufactories on Lake Como. It was there, working after hours, that she designed and produced her first garments, which were tops and skirts. With these rather simple designs she won the female market and recognition. At that time, she showed her prototypes to the famous New York fashion designer Diane Vreeland. Her determination, persistence and faith in herself paid off – the clothes began to be bought by upper class women living in New York. One of her sets was even worn by Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of President Richard Nixon. It was then that Diane, looking at her, thought to pair the blouse and skirt together

This is how the idea of the envelope dress, which is still legendary today, was born. Its prototype hangs in the Gagosian Gallery and is treated as a work of art. At only 29 years old, Diane made a name for herself as a great designer and wrote herself into the pages of fashion history. Over the decades, the design alternately lost and gained popularity depending on what the big fashion houses were offering. Diane von Fürstenberg herself offered a plethora of patterns and colors of her iconic design throughout this time. There were flowers, diamonds, leopard spots, or bright or pastel colors. Today, the dress created 50 years ago is loved by television stars. On the red carpet showed in it Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, or Kate Hudson. What is more, the envelope dress has not disappeared from the catwalks so far. In the autumn-winter season, this cut appeared in the collections of Chloe and Dries Van Noten, among others

Diane von Fürstenberg Company

Diane is a fashion designer, who never finished her design studies and could not sketch. Despite this, she was very successful, and by the mid-1970s her iconic design had become a worldwide phenomenon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always this good. After its great success, the 1980s brought a complete change in the fashion world. Colors and complicated patterns counted, so no one was interested in simple, universal creations. The artist herself decided to sell her company and only in the 90s bought it back. Currently, her boutique is located in New York, and the brand itself is not so popular anymore. Over the years, Diane von Fürstenberg has expanded her range and now offers not only elegant clothing, but also sunglasses, sports accessories and cosmetics

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