After a star studded opening, Diane Von Furstenberg’s Journey of a Dress Exhibition continues at Beijing’s Pace Gallery through May 14. As the exhibition draws to its end, The Maosuit spoke to Diane Von Furstenberg about her exhibition and about succeeding in China.
Many international designers are inspired by China lately and we see ‘Chinese elements’ showing up in the collections. However, Chinese consumers prefer foreign designed and flavored fashions and don’t necessarily like these ‘Chinese design elements’. As a designer, how do you feel about this?
I think it is a compliment! I spent three weeks in China and was inspired at every turn ! What’s not to love? My fall collection was called “American Legends” and was based on strong women and their journeys throughout history. We shot our campaign at the studio of artist Zhang Huan in Shanghai. It was a very moving experience!
You’ve said that your new year’s resolution was to get known in China and you have been spending a lot of time here recently. What does ‘getting known in China’ mean?
I have always loved China ever since I was a little girl and I wanted to know it better. So I made a resolution last year to explore the Chinese culture and the people and let them get to know me better too. So far it has been very successful! I love the Chinese! And the Journey of a Dress exhibition has done very well! There are lines to get in every day!
Your Journey of a Dress has been running for a month in Beijing. For the average Chinese person who might not understand fashion what would you like to convey to them through your exhibition?
It’s not just about fashion, it’s about life and loving life which is very important! When I arrived to America in he seventies, I was a young princess with a suitcase full of dresses and I brought them to Vogue, not knowing what was going to happen. I have been on this intense journey for four decades but I am very fortunate. I have wonderful children and grandchildren, a wonderful husband and a business that I love. It is important to follow your dreams !
As a very successful designer and business women is there any advice you would give about doing business in China?
My mother told me from a very young age that ‘fear is not an option.’ It is a mantra that stuck with me. Be strong, be yourself! Women are very powerful, and we’re stronger than we sometimes think.
Do you think Shanghai or Beijing can one day become a fashion capital of the world and how far away are we from seeing Chinese designers on the world stage?
Of course! China is filled with some of the best art in the world right now! Design is the next step! As the CFDA president, one of my missions is to foster young design talent and I couldn’t imagine a better place for new talent than in China!
Thanks to Diane for taking the time to speak with The Maosuit