The History of The Wrap
Easy, effortless, and on the go. This one little dress has become a friend in the wardrobe to women all over the world.
Born of an idea that was revolutionary in its utter simplicity, the wrap dress was created by Diane von Furstenberg in 1974 as a reinterpretation of the classic kimono design, after happening upon an Italian manufacturer who specialized in printed jersey.
First introduced in a cotton-rayon jersey fabric—chosen for its flattering effect on the female figure and the way it moved with the body—Diane’s dresses were “smashing,” according to Diana Vreeland, then the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, and her wrap dresses became an instant hit.
Sexy yet practical, the wrap dress was designed to ensure unparalleled ease of wear. By 1976, Diane had sold over a million wrap dresses, enjoying success that saw her cover the pages of Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and many more prolific publications.
After taking a hiatus from fashion in the late 80s, Diane re-launched her brand in 1997, and in doing so, reintroduced the classic wrap dress styles that first launched her career.
Over four decades after launching her first leopard-print wrap dress in 1974, the very same wrap dress was featured in MOMA’s 2017 exhibition ‘Items: Is Fashion Modern?’ among 110 other fashion items that have strongly impacted the world in the 20th and 21st centuries, and is now part of MoMA’s permanent collection.
The timeless appeal of the wrap dress lies in its minimal construction. Free of fussy details such as button or zip closures, this is a dress that any woman can easily throw on and go, look her very best, and be at her most confident. Designed specifically for the woman in charge, the woman who knows what she wants and who is constantly on-the-go, the wrap dress is as versatile and relevant today as it was back in 1974—and now it’s available in countless new fabrics, styles, and silhouettes.
Chain Link Print
Perhaps the most celebrated and recognized of all the DVF prints, the Chain Link print speaks to Diane’s penchant for graphic art and was among the first of the DVF prints.
The Palm Vine Print
Another famous vintage print, the Palm Vine print is a nod to Diane’s love of nature, and was recently introduced in new and compelling colorways.
On The Runway
From a 1980s-era Iman, to Karlie Kloss sporting a patchwork stunner for Spring 16, and Talita von Furstenberg resplendent in an embroidered update of the classic style for our Fall 18 collection, the wrap dress has been a prominent and beloved fixture in every Diane von Furstenberg collection since the brand was founded in the early 1970s.
The effortless wrap design is front and center in these compelling ‘70s- and ‘80s-era vintage DVF ads.
Women We Love
With its minimalist style, the wrap dress was designed to accentuate the woman. From Michelle Obama to Amy Winehouse, Oprah to Madonna, it’s an iconic dress that has been worn by some of the world’s most iconic women.
From top left: Oprah Winfrey, Natalia Vodianova, Ingrid Betancourt, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Hudson, Michelle Obama, Susan Sarandon, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Allison Williams, Madonna, Meryl Streep, Amy Winehouse
Wraps In Art
From MoMA to LACMA to The RISD Museum of Costume and Textiles, this effortless little dress is as at home in the museum as it is on the runway.
The wrap dress is as at home in the museum as it is on the runway. In 2017, it was displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of the exhibition “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” which explores the present, past—and sometimes future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today. The dress featured is now part of MoMA’s permanent collection. In 2014, the wrap dress celebrated its 40th Anniversary with The Journey of A Dress exhibition in the Wilshire May Company Building at LACMA. (A smaller version of the exhibition had been staged in Moscow, Sao Paolo and Beijing). That same year, DVF collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation to create a collection of wrap dresses painted in the iconic artist’s pop prints.
Wraps in Film
From Cybil Shepherd in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver to Amy Adams in David O’Russell’s American Hustle, the wrap dress has been immortalized on film for over four decades.
Marie-Josée Croze in the 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butter y; Cybil Shepherd in Taxi Driver; Amy Adams in American Hustle; Elena Anaya in The Skin I Live In; Julia Roberts in Larry Crowne.
(From L to R)
For me, wearing a DVF wrap dress is a celebration. A celebration of being a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend, and a colleague. I bought my first DVF wrap dress right before I became pregnant with my first child. It was thrilling to buy this dress that made me feel feminine, elegant, and con dent. — Nicole H., USA, 2007
This is a picture of my mother wearing one of her DVF wrap dresses in the 70’s. Those were the happiest years of her life—she was working and happy, a single mother making things happen for herself. I grew up with that dress as a symbol of what womanhood could be. When I wear it, I feel beautiful and close to her.— Brooke B., USA, 2013
I bought my very first DVF wrap dress at age 20 for my out t to leave my wedding to my husband of now 37 years! It was THE most special dress I could choose for my special day. — Mitzi R., USA, 1976
Like Chanel liberated women when she created a suit, DVF empowered women with a dress. It was not a fashion statement, more a feeling statement. My generation had missed out on that experience from the 70’s so we brought it back in the 90’s. We too wanted to wrap ourselves with that kind of confidence and sexiness. It was the first time that a dress embodied that. You could run an empire in a dress. Who better than DVF knows the power of those legs that can easily cross and uncross in a wrap? Always on the go, and that felt very glamorous...— Ahn Duong, France, 2013
I wanted to wear a DVF wrap dress for my 50th birthday. I wanted to look beautiful, sexy and stylish! I had recently undergone surgery and treatment for breast cancer. I bought my dress at a sample sale and made sure I t into it on my special day! It felt great! —Margaret M., USA, 2011 As the costume designer for the film American Hustle, I was gathering research images for Amy Adams’ character and I kept coming across stunning DVF photos. The images had the right combination of confidence, elegance and sexiness that we needed to convey with the character. She expresses her new- found confidence and joe-de-vivre by wearing wrap dresses in bold patters—clothes that make her feel empowered, sexy and up-to-date. I think in truth the most challenging part was making sure Amy didn’t take them home with her at the end of the shoot day—she really did love those dresses!! — Michael Wilkinson, 2013