“This Fashion Week is a Watershed for the Fashion Industry,” says Diane von Furstenberg

Innovative and visionary, Diane ditched the catwalk to make a performance presentation of her winter 2016-2017 collection. Prior to the event, the designer talked to Marie Claire about the unique moment in which Fashion Week finds itself, and her collection dedicated to female empowerment

This article originally appeared in Marie Claire Brazil

The first time I attended a show by Diane Von Furstenberg at New York Fashion Week, there was a giant catwalk for 500 seated guests. It was September 2013: the designer’s final show at Lincoln Center. Since then, her shows have changed, the digital influence in fashion has grown, and Diane has reinvented herself.

For the winter 2016-2017 season, there was no runway. “This year we’re bringing the people back into our house,” Diane said. She opted for an intimate performance in the brand’s headquarters in the Meatpacking District, where Diane lives. This new experience stems from her desire to relive past shows at her first headquarters on 12th Street.

This new setup is consistent with what the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) has been announcing about the future of Fashion Weeks. Chairman of the Board since 2005, Diane is spearheading the changes of a system she considers broken.

See now, buy now

“We’re going through a period of change, and we’re probably going to show the Summer 2017 collection in a more intimate event, and then we’re going to have a bigger show. We are still deciding,” Diane says of the upcoming New York Fashion Week in September. “The most important thing is the focus on the consumer.” The ideas is to sell pieces shown on the catwalk right after the show, so Diane has already released three pieces of her recent winter 2017 collection for sale on the brand’s website.

Now that anyone with a smartphone can watch from the front row in realtime, the fashion show model needs some adjustments. Showing collections six months before the clothes arrive in stores no longer feels relevant. To decide the next phase, CFDA hired Boston Consulting Group to research how the system can evolve. The results of the analysis will be released in March.

Nothing has changed about Diane’s support for female empowerment

Famous for creating collections inspired by women’s freedom, Diane brought her eye to a collection with clothes that are both feminine and strong. “Called ‘Love Power’, these pieces are for real women and they can express themselves as they want,” says Diane. The performance chosen to present the collection showed just that.

Upon entering, the audience saw models coming in and out of doors, as if leaving home. First, we saw more casual pieces, like chiffon dresses and mini-jackets. Then, a working environment with desks and models in tailored trousers, leather pants with a wide trim, or wrap dresses in vibrant prints. At the end, the guests were taken to a room with a pre-party warm-up with all the stars hanging out together: Gigi Hadid, Kendal Jenner, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge. They danced to 70’s disco hits and wore slip dresses with graphic prints or embroidered with sequins.

As we sat on the steps of her studio, DVF summarized the collection: “It’s the fluidity of a dancer allied to a powerful woman. I want my clothes to be tools for a woman to be whoever she wants to be.

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