I perch on the bench that sits next to the entrance of the Journey of a Dress exhibit’s multi-colored, multi-patterned showroom, not wanting to leave. Towered behind myself and my 1960’s shift dress is a wallpaper and a floor patterned in snakeskin filled in with a few shades of blue. As I momentarily glance up from my notes, I see multiple platformed black stages that are filled with a curation of DVF wrap dresses modeled on bare white Pucci mannequins and blank faces made to model after Diane’s very own cheek bones and mouth. The original 1974 dress, the one that caught the attention of Vogue and started it all, stands out in the center. The room drives my eyes at lightning speed from left to right, from up to down. I, just for a split-second, focus on what I see and catalogue it into my memory so my eyes can dance another way, until they ease down and meet it again.
There’s a wrap dress with a stenciled silhouette of Diane’s face adorning and falling off the Pucci mannequin’s hip. There’s one with sequins glistening colors of red, blue, and orange on top of over-sized black and white scales that I’ve seen on butterfly wings. There are a few dresses scattered with stars the size of my hands and they’re making my heart bounce, giving me a major case of beloved nostalgia. They bring me back a time in the 90’s, when my bedroom dresser belonged to star stickers and the hours my nights belonged to Goosebumps books read underneath glow-in-the-dark stars I had stuck to my ceiling.
My solo trip to the Journey of a Dress at LACMA strengthened my love for Diane Von Furstenberg and for the strong visions she images then creates. The contrasting patterned prints, materials, and colors contributing to the collision of wrapping, draping, and weightlessly falling jersey will be painted in my memory for years to come, inspiring my own design efforts. The dresses’ comfortable necklines that grace the mannequins and visitors collar bones and shoulders, the tiny pockets, all the sequins galore, and the paintball splatters in primary colors frolicked in my mind as Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus smoothly melt into my ears… I loved my time there.
DVF never fails to remind us to love life, to travel, to be inspired by the nature around us, and to feel like a woman; wear a dress. She is someone that I look up to, one who is so incredibly successful and still so playfully down to earth. In my own ways, I feel my own personality has similar qualities in common to her. I aspire to show that I do own these qualities, that I embrace them and not hide them. I will not forget them or leave them behind as the years pass, as I grow older and more into myself.
The Journey of a Dress made me think of the designer and into the artist I aspire to be. One who can create something so timeless, that can be worn along the years of one’s own magical journey through life and be so apart of their story. An artist that creates art and wares that support and embrace self-expression when seen or worn. A person that can provide an open window, a simple and sweet communication to one’s past memories… whether they are memories of a constantly changing path, a touched heart, ones that are bittersweet, ones that ease, and ones that bring a smile to the face. – Alexz Sandoval / Bird Trouble
PS. I need a vintage DVF bell bottomed pant suite. The only way that will happen is if I get your help in sending me the best of all thrifting vibes. ❤
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The letter from the former Vogue editor, Diane Vreeland, states: “Diane. I think your clothes are absolutely smashing. I think the fabrics, the prints, the cut are all great. This is what we need. We hope to do something very nice for you. Also, do you need help with stores? If there is anything you want us to do, please don’t hesitate to call. Much love! Congratulations Diane.”
1984 Andy Warhol of Diane Von Furstenberg.
Fracois Marie Banier – Natalia. ’08
Myself sitting in front of the original prints that Warhol gave Diane.
Exhibit installed by Michael Herz
Installation by Stefan Beckman
Picture gallery designed by architect, Bill Katz