10 interesting things we learned at SFW's Fashion Talk Series In Conversation with Diane von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb:
1. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), of which DvF is president and Kolb chief executive officer, is older than Singapore - it was founded in 1962. Its designer members don't necessarily have to American, but have to be working in the United States.
2. At DvF's first meeting with legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland - one of the designer's early supporters - the editor came in with a big long cigarette holder, red lips and prompted DvF to "chin up, up!".
3. The famous wrap dress wasn't DvF's first piece of clothing. She started with shirtdresses, T-shirt dresses and tunics with pants. A wrap top and skirt were eventually combined to produce the first wrap dress in 1974.
4. DvF wasn't sure at first whether she wanted to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress last year. "It makes me sound so old!" she joked.
5. She finished her memoir, The Woman I Wanted To Be, on the same day as the exhibit Journey Of A Dress opened last year. (The exhibition is on now at Ion till May 14.)
6. Technology has changed the playing field, DvF says. Any designer can sell online and use social media. It helps democratise things, but is also incredibly competitive.
7. "Generosity is the best investment," she says, explaining that sharing knowledge and mentorship is important to her.
8. Designer Christian Lacroix once said to DvF, male designers make costumes while female designers make clothes. She agreed eventually, pointing out that designers like herself, Donna Karan, Madeleine Vionnet and Norma Kamali used jersey, a fabric that doesn't look like much, but feels great.
9. The late Oscar de la Renta, a good friend of DvF's, was president of the CFDA twice. DvF was heading the search committee for a president but no one wanted to do it. She came on board in 2006, just for two years. It has now been eight years.
10. The application process for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund is very rigorous, but designers can learn so much real-life lessons from the process, she says. Designer Joseph Altuzarra didn't win his first time, but that was a good thing, says DvF because he was arrogant and had to eat humble pie. He's a completely different person now, with investment from luxury group Kering and beating out the likes of Marc Jacobs for awards.