fashion designers who have made a significant impact in the industry. This essay will examine Diane Von Furstenberg and Isabel Marant and discuss their histories, contributions to fashion and their importance to society. I will also add my personal opinions and interpretations of their work and how they have affected my outlook towards style and personal expression. I will divide this essay into two parts where each segment will break down the background, market segment, style, promotional approach and importance.
Diane Von Furstenberg
Diane Von Furstenberg was born Diane Halfin on December 31, 1946 in Brussels, Belgium. Her birth mother was a Nazi concentration camp survivor and her father was a rich businessman. Furstenberg enjoyed a comfortable childhood and attended various boarding schools for the affluent families in Europe. She attended the University of Madrid and The University of Geneva.
Furstenberg met and fell in love with Prince Eduard Egon von Furstenberg at college in the 1960’s and they were eventually married shortly after their meeting. In 1969, Furstenberg and her husband moved to New York where she made her first attempt in entering the fashion world. Furstenberg soon developed a unique approach to design with influence from other designers such as Bill Blass and Diana Vreeland.
In the mid-1970’s she became very popular. Her popularity grew from her inspirational Wrap Dress that became a very popular item during this time. The Wrap Dress was her claim to fame and she soon became a fashion icon. After a decade of substantial success, her business soon declined in the 1980’s. Later in the 1990’s she made a comeback and has not fallen behind again.
Furstenberg targeted the working women in the 1970’s. New fashions were in demand as many women began entering the workplace after the Women’s Liberation movement became a force. The designer felt that this market was perfect for both her stylistic approach and her political approach. Today she still aims her products at this middle-class market and sells many of her products in retail stores and QVC. Furstenberg’s clothes are sold in over 70 countries and she has 45 freestanding shops.
Description of her Look
Furstenberg believed it was important to fill a niche rather than to be a designer for every type of consumers. Her own specialty is feminine yet comfortable women’s fashion. The wrap dress that she designed in the 70’s propelled her to fame and fortune and marks her distinctive style. The wrap dress, and many of her other fashions focuses on flexibility and being able to wear the style both at work and in social settings. Her dresses are tight fitting yet adjustable making her look very natural and bold. She incorporates signature prints to help add color and patterns to her feminine designs. Today she also designs shoes, accessories and bags.
Furstenberg’s history has shown her that there are many different yet effective ways to bring her products to market. She promotes her clothing line by selling her own personality and history. Her social activism and philanthropy gives consumers another reason to buy her designs. Her company DVF, has its own website which sells her clothes and promotes her ideas. Furstenberg lives in the Meatpacking District in New York City which is a popular place for the fashion industry so she can keep up on current trends and promote her products.
Why Furstenberg is Important
Furstenberg is important because she has stayed relevant for many decades. Her current success is an attribute to her persistence and hard work. Her importance is based largely on the very popular wrap dress that helped define the 70’s look. Many high profile celebrities have worn her designs such as Madonna and Jenifer Lopez. She is most important however due to her support towards the working woman in today’s society. Women when entering the workplace can be both comfortable and fashionable thanks to her work and efforts.
Marant was born in Paris, France in 1967. Marant’s mother was a German fashion designer and her father was French. Her parents divorced when she was very young. Isabel Marant began her fashion career at age 15 when she began to sew and design her own clothes. . When Marant was a child she was an outgoing tomboy who disliked anything famine or girly. She enjoyed dressing to shock people and would borrow from her father’s closet and wear his clothes after altering them. Early style inspiration came from childhood trips abroad to Asia, Africa, India and the Caribbean, as well as from her parents.
When Marant became dissatisfied with the selection of clothes in stores she decided to start making her own clothes. These early creations were made out of discarded material and soon many of her friends wanted her to make clothes for them. After her time at Bercot, she began an internship with Michel Klein in 1987. She also began working with Bridget Yorke and Marc Ascoli which helped jump start her career. In 1989 she launched her own collection. She was immediately very successful which she attributes to her time spent working with others. In 1994 she set up her own label with a studio in Paris and held her first fashion show in 1995. In 1997 she won the Award de la Mode .
Marant targets a young and hip crowd with her fashions. She tends to find the middle ground between the outlandish and the elaborate. According to her website ” Marant’s label is a ‘melting mode’, a trendsetter’s favourite with its mix of minimalist and bohemian. The obvious femininity of floating dresses is offset by louche minimalist masculinity and unlike many of her Parisian contemporaries Marant’s strain of chic has an almost affordable price tag.”
Describing her Look
Marant’s look is very urban and modern. She avoids designing clothes that are too sexy and tends to address a more artistic approach to her style. Her clothes stand out but are not overly flamboyant. She designs jackets with interesting sleeves and pockets, day dresses in cool patterns and very slick and stylish boots. She combines a certain eclectic coolness with a trendy incorporation of her artistic influences outside of fashion.
Marant uses several different approaches to promote her clothing line. She has three stand-alone boutiques in Paris, nine scattered throughout Asia and one in New York. She also has wholesale locations located throughout America and Europe. Marant has a website where she promotes her current activities and previews some of her new fashions. Many famous movie stars such as Kirsten Dunst, Rachel Bilson and Cameron Diaz support her work and are frequently seen in her outfits.
Why She is Important
Marant is a very hot designer in today’s fashion world. She has a unique but simple style that seems to capture the feeling of the times and many women adore her styles. She has captured the attention of the fashion world and has much influence on what women are wearing today. Her importance is measured in her ability to stay cool without selling out to the bigger retailers which inspires many young artistic designers who are looking for inspiration .
Comparing Marant and Furstenberg
Marant and Furstenberg are both high-quality designers but have a different approaches to their style and designs. Furstenberg is much older and experienced than Masant and are at different stages of their careers. Furstenberg is much more practical than Marant although Marant is not impractical. Furstenberg caters to more of a working class woman while Marant targets a more artistic and younger crowd of consumers. Marant definately has more of a European flair while Furstenberg is much more “New York.” Marant’s clothes tend to be more expensive and limited while Furstenberg is more of a general designer.
Both women are fine examples of how a career in the fashion world can be accomplished. Furstenberg’s rapid climb to success and her troubled times adds a sense of experience to her work that allows her to not make as many mistakes today. Marant is now coming into her own and her future is very bright. I love both of these designers for different reasons.
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