To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we’re celebrating some of our favorite women—with tributes from some of their favorite women. From Misty Copeland to Judy Blume, these women have inspired us, moved us, and shown us that a better world is possible. We’ll be sharing their stories here all week. For more stories of women breaking barriers, get a copy of Glamour’s new book, Glamour: 30 Years of Women Who Have Reshaped the World.
It started with a dress. When a then 26-year-old Diane von Furstenberg introduced her wrap to the world, in 1974, the instantly iconic design reinvented sportswear with its fresh mix of bold patterns, stretchy fabric, and universally flattering silhouette. Since then it’s been a staple of American fashion—beloved by everyone from Paris Hilton to Michelle Obama. It was, is, and will always be a requisite item in every woman’s wardrobe. An emblem of independence and femininity, style and comfort, the wrap dress was revolutionary for the culture. Simply put, it’s timeless. It’s featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection, for God’s sake.
Fast forward nearly 50 years later: DVF remains as influential as ever. The designer has extended her reach beyond fashion to a number of entrepreneurial and philanthropic pursuits, including creating the DVF Awards, which honors women leaders, launching a podcast, InCharge With DVF, and financing public parks like the High Line and the soon-to-be-open Little Island in New York City. She was a 2005 Glamour Woman of the Year, inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019, and most recently wrote a book, Own It: The Secret to Life.
Diane von Furstenberg’s positive impact has resonated with women all over the world, and continues to do so for the next generation of young talent. Everyone’s down with DVF. Below, her friends Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Sturino, Anita Hill, and Allison Williams share the life lessons they learned from the icon.
Sarah Jessica Parker: “Diane understood the power of the dress.”
I first met Diane about 10 or 15 years ago through a mutual friend, which allowed me to become close to her and spend time with her socially, as opposed to passing one another at a fashion show or an event. She’s DVF, and I’m SJP, but her initials have a lot more standing than mine. There’s much that I admire about her—I wouldn’t pretend to imagine our initials have the same impact.
Diane is, and has always been, a fierce advocate for women and for independence. She’s directed a business, inspired the industry, and been a muse and visionary. Diane loves business, and she’s excited to be involved, but she’s also very honest about how challenging it is to be in retail and manage a company—especially right now. But it’s her long-held conviction that women should be given opportunities and afforded the possibility to reach their full potential that I admire most. She’s concerned about women and young girls near and far, and has exercised that conviction by helping them in thousands of communities across the globe.
She’s also deeply in love with joy and fun and whimsy. She has a lust for travel that I completely relate to, though she gets to satisfy hers more often than I do. She’s a reader, she’s interested in other people, she loves color and music, and she has a true joie de vivre that is inspiring and enviable.
I remember wearing her vintage wrap dress on Sex and the City. I just love that material—that wonderful, strange blend of cotton and wool and stretch. It took on a different sheen, almost like a powdery finish. The whole thing about that dress is real—it suits everybody. That’s why it was able to reach so many, and why there are still a million and one wrap dresses in the market that aren’t DVF. The wrap dress doesn’t go away. I work in an office with young women, and there isn’t a day that goes by when one of them isn’t wearing a wrap dress. And I mean women of all sizes, shapes, and ages. It’s still that dress.