When Denver boutique owner Max Martinez was planning his 25th anniversary fashion show, there was just one designer’s name on his wish list: Diane von Furstenberg.
“Prada, Celine, Lanvin. There was only Diane,” he told a sold-out crowd during last week’s show benefiting The Children’s Hospital. “I told Diane, today, if I’m on a plane, I’ll mention Prada, this, that, and I say ‘Diane’ and they’re like, ‘wow, I love her.’ I wore her dress for prom, my grandmother…”
The New York-based designer flew to Denver to present her spring 2011 collection — all 53 looks — at the Exdo event center. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Children’s Hospital Heart Institute and Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
Martinez founded MAX in 1985, and, today, has locations in Aspen, Boulder, the Highlands and a flagship boutique in Cherry Creek North.
We caught up with the elegant von Furstenberg, 64, before the event, and listened as she addressed the crowd. Here’s what she had to say.
On her quest to empower women: “For me, it’s the woman that’s important, and so my role as a designer is to give the woman things that will make her feel confident, because if you’re confident, then you’re happy.”
On the spring collection: “I have a new creative director, this is his first collection…. We were in Paris, and I took him to a museum and we went to see an exhibition of Isadora Duncan. … And it was very much a celebration of freedom, a celebration of nature … (The collection is) very Mederteranian. It’s blue … The handbags are really amazing.”
On her stay in Denver: “I arrived this afternoon and … all by myself I went to the Denver Art Museum and I had a really nice time looking at beautiful Western art. And tomorrow I’m going skiing.”
On what’s coming up: “I’m really focusing on my next collection. I have my fall line in about three weeks. … Then I’m going to be going to China. I am doing a ball in Shanghai, and then … the big launch in the fall is going to be my new perfume line. … It’s still under wraps, but it’s all about seduction. … I’m (also) launching my home line. Everything from sheets to comforters to plates.”
On getting her start: “When I was a young girl, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I knew the kind of woman that I wanted to be. A woman who was independent, a woman who could pay her own way… ”
“… I came to America, I had no idea what I was doing. And I went to see Diana Vreeland … and I sold a few dresses, very few. And I went to Italy and placed my order and they were like, what kind of orders are these? It’d be 12 and 24 dresses. I begged, ‘please, please, take them. Trust me.’ They trusted me and made the clothes . They came all wrong. What was red came blue. What was size 8 came 12, but whatever I shipped sold, so I knew I had something good.”
On starting over: “It all went so fast. … I sold my company in the mid ’80s and then … about 10 years ago, when it was really bad … I decided to start again. And I started again with that one (wrap) dress. … The hip girls were buying the old dresses in vintage shops. … And, I must say, the second time around is actually more fun.”
“I am now a grandmother of three, many, many years have happened and I have already touched so many generations.”