PRINTS AND PRINCESS
Byline: Eric Wilson
NEW YORK — Can five million Diane Von Furstenberg fans be wrong? She’s hoping that the masses who supported her in the Seventies will turn out in the late Nineties for her wrap dress redux.
So far so good.
“Not only do I have one,” exclaimed Samantha Kluge, fondling one of Von Furstenberg’s creations at Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, “but I’m going to get one in every color and print and for everyone I know! I’m going to wrap all my pillows in them!”
The pillow talk was a joke, she clarified, but Kluge wasn’t kidding when she raved about Von Furstenberg’s comeback. More than 600 of the simple $190 silk jersey slips have sold since Saks brought them back two weeks ago, outpacing Von Furstenberg’s expectations.
“I’m very pleased, let’s say, but I’m also very surprised that the young, hip girls are embracing them with such a passion, as they did in the Seventies,” Von Furstenberg said.
Indeed, Tuesday’s personal appearance by Von Furstenberg and her daughter-in-law and creative director, Alexandra Von Furstenberg, drew more than 200 fans. Sizes 2, 4 and 6 promptly sold out.
The younger Von Furstenberg’s sister, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, made an entrance with Rena Kirdar Sindi, each pushing a baby stroller — with 13-month-old Marie-Olympia and 11-month-old Leana Sinda on board, respectively. Alexandra and Marie-Chantal wore matching Von Furstenberg dresses in the signature Diane print — it looks like grafitti but spells out Diane. Alexandra’s was espresso; Marie-Chantal’s was sand.
Also in the crowd were Marie-Chantal’s husband, Prince Pavlos; Alexandra’s husband Alexander (Diane Von Furstenberg’s son); a pregnant Brooke Douglass de Ocampo, Tocca’s Marie-Anne Oudejans and the younger Carolina Herrera, with newly shorn locks.
“There’s too much here. They’re all so pretty!” Herrera chirped as she checked out the stock. “I’m in wrap heaven right now.”
Von Furstenberg, meanwhile, left the junior jet set to mingle with the ladies who are old enough to remember the last wrap dress craze.
“It’s the enthusiasm of the way they grab them that I love,” Von Furstenberg said. “If they have…” She stopped short, sensing a customer without assistance.
“Is anyone helping you? What size are you?” Von Furstenberg demanded of Pat von Wenckstern, a 67-year-old retired homemaker, who said she wears a size 14. “They size small. Here, let me help you.”
Around the corner, Kluge was wondering what her husband, Adam Cahan, would look like in a wrap dress.
“The one day I wore mine down the street, I got attacked by women saying how beautiful it was. My husband said this is better than walking a dog,” Kluge said. “It’s definitely a lady magnet, so maybe he’d wear one.”
As Pavlos and his brother-in-law, Alexander, whose recent blond dye job was beginning to turn green, crept away, the designer spotted another customer in need — Faith Morford of Palm Beach, who had brought along a vintage wrap with kelly green hearts on it.
“I remember that!” Von Furstenberg squealed. “This is the front and back wrap.”
“Yes, but I wanted to know, how do you wash it?” Morford said, explaining that because the dress is cut on the bias, most dry cleaners turned her away. “Will it ever be white again? I’ve had it so many years.”
Ever the saleswoman, Von Furstenberg replied, “Well, then. You’ve got to buy a new one.”