This woman just amazes me! Seriously, I don’t normally go in for much hero-worshipping, but Diane von Furstenburg has to be one of the most inspiring women of our time in the design world. At 64 years old, most people would be winding down in their professional lives and looking forward to retirement, but she is forging ahead, not only with her incredibly successful fashion line, but she’s also moving into interior design having designed a range of suites at the iconic Claridge’s Hotel in London, and releasing a homewares line early next year. I’ve just had a bit of a geek-out and have looked up her life story – prepare yourselves to be inspired…
After separating from her husband Prince Eduard Egon von Furstenberg in 1975, DVF used her combined knowledge of design and business to open a fashion showroom in NYC – she designed the original sweater dress and wrap dress (absolute friggin’ genius) and after only a few months of business her sales were over $1 million (not sure if that’s per year or month or what but you can’t argue with a cheeky $1 mill…). Since then the princess-turned-designer has diversified her business model into an empire of jewellery, furs, shoes, scarves, sunglasses, cosmetics, children’s fashion and housewares. All of the articles I’ve been reading about her keep referring to the same three characteristics behind her success: creativity, imagination and hard work. Anyway, it’s obviously not a ‘rags to riches’ type of story, but I love the fact that she was so independent and fiery back in the day when it was more difficult and unusual for a woman to achieve such success sola.
Anyhoo, back to the suites at Claridge’s… I’ve got my hands on a bunch of piccies of the DVF Piano Suite. With the help of interior designer Olivier Gelbsmann, she has successfully merged a ridiculous number of her signature bold prints (in the most incredible range of colours from lilac and chocolate to lime and fuchsia) and quirky custom-designed furniture with the formal architecture and best of the original detailing of the hotel such as the marble fireplaces and detailed plaster wall panelling – in her words: “I wanted to respect the architecture and the formality of the grand hotel room, but at the same time make it relevant to today’s lifestyle… I don’t want the hotel to change, I just want it to be more of a fantasy.”
Well Diane, I think we can safely say you have achieved the fantasy element! So the lounge of the Piano Suite incorporates her iconic ikat pattern on the sofas and window treatment, and the rug is one of her designs for The Rug Company. The wall sconces were custom made in Murano Glass.
These David Hicks-inspired graphic prints seriously pack a punch. I love the dual headboard effect and the gold accents on the wall sconces and wall detailing.
The contrast here of the abstract animal print rug with the more traditional four-poster is perfection. And that dressing table/upholstered chair just made me stop dead in my tracks – the gold accents are fab.
I also love the fact that DVF is a self-confessed nomad – the ikat fabric on the daybed below was inspired by a fabric she brought back from Indonesia.
And how’s this for a bathroom?! For all out luxury and opulence, you just cannot beat marble marble marble.
This valise chest of drawers in shagreen is apparently DVF’s favourite piece – another nod to a life of travel, *sigh*.
I also came across this quote while researching her style: ‘When it comes to decorating, you can be brave. You have to feel confident. Really, if you think about it, it is like being a gardener. In nature, you mix colours.’ Amen sister!
So for anyone wishing to use this as inspiration in their own home (I’m thinking perhaps of using an element of it, maybe a bold graphic window treatment, or a gorgeous statement rug, rather than an all-out crazy colour frenzy), you’ll be pleased to hear that DVF has just started production of 87 lines of upholstery fabric and is launching her own homewares range in January 2011, in partnership with Springs Global.
Just check out this awesome choice of fabrics:
And her upcoming range is rumoured to include bedding, bath, tabletop and decorative accessories, and is defined into three categories: Urban, Sun and Country. Here’s a sneak peek: