“Fear is not an option.”
That line stuck with me as I listened to the iconic Belgian-American designer Diane von Furstenberg—who was in Toronto recently for a fashion fundraiser presented by S/ columnist, Suzanne Rogers—speak about her extraordinary life. The line, initially delivered by von Furstenberg’s mother Lily (a concentration camp survivor), was instilled in Diane from an early age. If there were ever a woman who embodies being fearless, it would be von Furstenberg, who, in a male-dominated industry, launched her own fashion line and her signature wrap dress in 1974. With its understated glamour and ease of movement, the wrap dress symbolized freedom and independence for the modern working woman. Though she’s no longer at the creative helm of the label, DVF has become one of the world’s most successful fashion brands. Today, von Furstenberg is an outspoken advocate for empowering women through philanthropy, and strives to celebrate freedom, independence and a life well lived.
This fearlessness is shared by some of the world’s most successful and revolutionary designers, from Christian Dior in the 1940s to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele today. When fashion for women after the war erred towards utilitarian, Dior went against the grain and initiated a return to glamour, luxury and a feminine ideal through the creation of his “New Look” in 1947, which changed the course of fashion history. As the house of Dior turns 70 this year, we examine the designer’s legacy and those who have succeeded him, including current designer Maria Grazia Chiuri (the first female designer to take the creative helm at the house), in “Revolution Road.”
Gucci’s Michele has staged his own fashion revolution by instigating a return to a more demure, covered-up aesthetic. Some might say the look is “anti-sexy”, but as writer Nancy Won examines in “Kinky Boots,” the movement has spurred a more thoughtful, at times playful and even fetishistic way of communicating sex appeal that is rooted in freedom and self-expression.
Whatever you wear—whether it’s thigh-high spandex boots underneath an office-ready skirt suit or a skin-baring, body-con mini dress—should instill confidence, and at the end of the day, that’s sexy, and fearless.