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It's a Wrap!

Culture Watch

By Tali Jaffe

Pace Beijing Gallery pays tribute to fashion icon Diane Von Furstenberg with a new show, “Journey of a Dress.”

It’s possible that no designer in American fashion has had as much of an impact on the way women dress than Diane Von Furstenberg. All due respect, of course, to Donna Karan, who promoted the idea of wardrobe essentials with her seven easy pieces. But DVF revolutionized the way we dress with the most simple of pieces: the wrap dress. And in fact, the piece had such an impact on mainstream fashion, that three years after its debut in 1973, Ms. Von Furstenberg, then only 29 years old, was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine.

Below: At left, Diane Von Furstenberg on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976. At right, the designer appeared in the first ad for her line, shot by Roger Prigent, in 1973.

The Pace Beijing Gallery presents Journey of a Dress, an exhibition that tells the story of the life, career and fashion designs of this prolific designer. Organized by decade, the show includes portraits of Diane by some of the most celebrated artists of the last 40 years, including Andy Warhol, Francesco Clemente and Helmut Newton.

Below: At left, Von Furstenberg stands in front of her portrait by Francesco Clemente (1999). At right, the designer with her portrait by Andy Warhol (1984).

The exhibition will include over 60 vintage and contemporary dresses from Diane's personal archives along with letters, photographs and ephemera that evoke specific moments in Diane's history—from a Francesco Scavullo photo from the height of the disco era at Studio 54 to the Obama family's 2009 Christmas portrait by Annie Leibovitz featuring First Lady Michelle Obama in the very same DVF wrap dress that began the story.

And, to connect past to present and East to West, the show also includes new works by major contemporary Chinese artists, Zhang Huan, Hai Bo, Li Songsong and Yi Zhou. These new works made specifically for this show, are the first portraits of Diane done by Chinese artists. Perhaps the most impressive of which is Zhang Huan’s, who will create three ash paintings made from ash collected from Buddhist temples. Once sorted into piles by color, the ash is applied to three different canvases to create an American flag, a Chinese flag, and a portrait of Diane inspired by a photograph by Peter Lindbergh.

Journey of a Dress is on view at Pace Beijing April 3 through May 14.

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