NEW YORK — Diane von Furstenberg thinks it's time to take Wonder Woman beyond the leotard.
For this holiday season, von Furstenberg has collaborated with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Comics and created a capsule collection of ready-to-wear, small leather goods and footwear that loosely takes its cues from the superheroine.
Von Furstenberg admitted she's always had a fondness for Wonder Woman: Not only does she share a similar first name with the fictional character, Princess Diana, but for years, she has kept a photo of her in her diary. Last holiday, her staffers gave the designer a framed image of herself in the likeness of Wonder Woman.
"It very much fits into my belief that every woman should be the Wonder Woman she wants to be," von Furstenberg said. "It fits the spirit of my clothes, of the woman I dress.
"That's why I like her," she added. "I like everything that is real and good. What I believe in in a woman and what I have chosen to support in philanthropy all go to the same thing — the empowerment of women."
Rather than literally reinvent the character's strapless corseted leotard and waist-cinching belt, von Furstenberg chose to seek inspiration from the superheroine's motifs and symbols, such as stars and the fireworks that go off when the character spins herself around to transform into a heroine with superpowers. The DVF collection, for instance, includes a long wrap dress in a multicolored shooting-star print, a little black dress emblazoned across the front with a large gold star, a sequined dress with a pink star on the side and a jersey dress with corseting detail. Prices are in line with the DVF collection, from about $125 to $360 at wholesale. The company declined to make sales projections.
Superhero themes are quite au courant. The Costume Institute will kick its "Superheroes" exhibit off with a gala benefit on Monday (see related story, this page), to which von Furstenberg plans to wear a dress from this new collection. She started talking to Warner Bros. before the Costume Institute announced its plans.
"Maybe it's the magic wand that everybody wants," von Furstenberg said of the current interest in the theme.The collection she created, however, is a far cry from some of the other Wonder Woman merchandise available in the market, which is more mass oriented and focuses mainly on T-shirts for a more junior customer.
"We were very excited to find out that Diane was such a huge fan of the Wonder Woman character, and that it was an inspiration to her in terms of what Wonder Woman stood for as a character," said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
"We think the marriage between a character and somebody with [von Furstenberg's] passion and vision only benefits the brand of Wonder Woman," Globe said.
The pieces will launch in October in the 22 DVF stores, as well as specialty shops worldwide that carry the DVF collection. In time for holiday, von Furstenberg also will launch three Wonder Woman-inspired gift items in her boutique: a T-shirt, a travel blanket with a pouch and a journal. Proceeds of the sale of these items will benefit Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization von Furstenberg is committed to that identifies and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs.
If von Furstenberg had her own superpowers, she knows exactly what she'd do. "I would abolish all weapons," she said. "There'd be no guns."
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