Monday, October 2, 2023

DVF’s ReWrap Isn’t Just Another Resale Platform. It’s a Fashion History Lesson.


In a spectacular return to her roots, Diane von Furstenberg, who rose to fame in the ’70s with her iconic wrap dress, is reintroducing her timeless fashion pieces through a novel resale initiative called “ReWrap”.

The DVF secondhand platform allows fans of the brand access to vintage Diane von Furstenberg merchandise, including both fresh and gently used items. The venerated resale enterprise, Archive, which has worked with fashion giants such as Ulla Johnson and Sam Edelman, is powering the platform.

The DVF resale project is “highly editorialized” including the “Missed Connections” feature that resembles a bulletin board where the DVF team actively pursues desired collections or specific pieces from its customers. Notably, von Furstenberg herself is on a quest to recapture specific designs, with her 2014 Andy Warhol print collection topping her pursuit list.

“ReWrap makes room for everyone — those who have loved DVF over the years can give their pieces new life and younger generations can discover pieces from the past,” von Furstenberg said in a statement.

“We are so excited about the launch of ReWrap,” said Talita von Furstenberg, cochairwoman of DVF. “The site has been created to celebrate DVF’s unique history, with imagery from our iconic archives and a name that specifically honors the wrap dress.”

A fresh chapter for DVF

The DVF label brand has navigated substantial fluctuations since the wrap dress made its debut in the 1970s. The onset of the pandemic and a management reshuffle — which saw Gabby Hirata appointed as president and Diane’s granddaughter, Talita von Furstenberg, as co-chairwoman in 2021 — prompted a brand revamp that included shutting stores and slashing production in half, the brand regained profitability in 2021, a first in more than a decade.

The label says the introduction of “ReWrap” ushers in a fresh chapter in the brand’s narrative, leveraging resale as a strategy to highlight the brand’s voyage and its lasting heritage.

Diane von Furstenberg in her iconic wrap dress
Diane von Furstenberg in her iconic wrap dress | Courtesy

Customers using the platform to sell DVF items can earn a 70 percent cash payout of the resale value or take the entire value of the item as credit towards future DVF purchases. The label says products generally garner around half of their initial retail cost at resale.

Emily Gittins, Archive’s CEO and co-founder, lauded DVF for its international acclaim for remarkable prints, forms, and the unrivaled jersey wrap dress. “As the resale industry continues to transform, brands like DVF are pioneering the way with unique, considerate, and personalized resale experiences,” Gittins said.

According to Gittins, resale has posed significant challenges for brands, particularly in managing timing and maintaining equilibrium between supply and demand. She predicts DVF’s entry into this realm could conceivably expand to a variety of formats, including in-store services, a mail-in option, and penetration into new markets.

How the wrap dress became an icon

ReWrap’s name builds on von Furstenberg’s most iconic design: the wrap dress, which has become a quintessential piece of fashion history and maintained its iconic status since its inception in the mid-1970s.

The wrap dress was created during a transformative era when women were entering the workforce in droves. Von Furstenberg, a young, budding designer, sought to create a garment that was both practical and empowering. The dress, with its soft jersey fabric and easy-to-wear wrap design, was an immediate success. It became a symbol of the modern, liberated woman, embodying both elegance and functionality.

A 1976 Vogue Patterns features the DVF wrap dress
A 1976 Vogue Patterns features the DVF wrap dress | Courtesy

The DVF wrap dress catapulted von Furstenberg to fame, selling more than a million units by 1976. It was a dress for every woman, fitting various body types and sizes, and offering a flattering silhouette for all. It was dubbed “the most marketable dress” by Newsweek, and DVF was hailed as a new icon in the fashion industry as a result.

“I design for the woman who loves being a woman,” von Furstenberg famously said.

The dress’s universal appeal lies in its ability to transition effortlessly from a casual day outfit to a chic evening ensemble, making it a favorite among Hollywood’s elite and busy professionals alike. From celebrities including Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, and Madonna to Amy Adams in a vintage DVF wrap dress in the film American Hustle — the dress’s status is cemented in pop culture.

The dress’s endurance can be attributed to its ability to adapt to the changing fashion landscape while retaining its original charm. It has been reimagined in various prints, fabrics, and lengths over the decades, reflecting the evolving tastes and trends of the times.

In 2014, the wrap dress’s 40th anniversary was celebrated with an exhibition titled “Journey of a Dress,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibit showcased the evolution of the wrap dress and reinforced its status as a timeless fashion icon.

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