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Enjoy It All… Keep Them Guessing on Your Party Look!

The second in a six-part series, Diane is back with tips on how to avoid party dressing fatigue. If you missed her first post on creative gift packages, you can check it out here.  

With Thanksgiving behind us, the rest of the year will be filled with holiday parties and celebrations ! In such a festive season, it sometimes becomes a problem to dress. Sure, you can always rely on your favorite black dress, but sometimes it does not feel right. Is it too short ? Why not layer it over a wide leg pant for a fresh feel ? Better yet, a printed jumpsuit is a great mix of fun and refined, and totally unexpected.



Party Dressing:
The Zarita

The Zarita is every woman at the party. That may sounds like a stretch, but we promise it’s true. A seasonless, best selling style, this stretch lace number is super flattering and always feels fresh, thanks to a mix of tradition and sex appeal that works for every occasion. In our Resort collection’s blue lagoon hue, this particular Zarita is a standout, feeling current but never trendy with a glamorous assortment of gilded accessories: a dancing heel, an envelope clutch and a striking bracelet. Oh, here’s a tip: this is our go-to when attire isn’t specified. Try it, we dare you—you’ll definitely be well-dressed!


Enjoy It All… Wrap Your Gifts in an Unexpected Package !

The first in a six-part series, Diane is here to share how she wraps her gifts, and one particularly memorable box she received…

The best gift wrap I ever received was on my birthday, New Year’s Eve. I was turning 29 and my boyfriend, who is now my husband, handed me a Band-Aid box. Inside, there were 29 loose diamonds ! I thought they were crystals !
I love a gift that surprises, so during the holidays it is fun to wrap your gifts in ways that are beautiful and unexpected. But my favorite is always to wrap with plain brown paper, so I can draw on the packages and write personal messages. Then I always tie them closed with a very long bow. It is fun for children, too.
Whatever you are giving, and whether it’s for a friend, a lover or yourself, remember as you are choosing your gifts, how to pack them and where to give them, generosity is the best investment… Enjoy it All !



Party Dressing:
The Jewel Wrap

The Jewel wrap is like the perfect guest: she’s always festive, but never too much. This dress brings together our enduring jersey wrap top that hugs and flatters, with a circle skirt in the beaded floral lace of our Kaleb shift dress. To play up the party mood of the Jewel, we love styling it with a crystal-encrusted minaudière, and a lace heel that matches the solid top, yet brings out the exquisite detail in the skirt. All charms that linger long after the party is over.


Holiday 2015:
The Inspiration

It’s a time for love and giving, resolutions and, of course, festivities! The holidays are here, and this season, we took inspiration for our windows and photo shoots from the movement, color, glamour and energy of Studio 54 at its height. Our own studio and flagship shop are filled with glowing lights, and our holiday gift guide (not to mention our holiday assortment!) is a dazzling study in brights!

We’re lucky to have reference photos—and memories—from Diane of the era: dancing, whispering, lounging and enjoying every single moment. She was, at the time, a new businesswoman, a young mother and a single woman who still made time to go out on the town. So in that spirit, this holiday season, whatever your plans, we invite you to enjoy it all!


In Conversation:
Tizita Hagere

We are always proud of our association with She’s the First– an organization dedicated to providing scholarships to girls in low-income countries, its founder received the DVF People’s Voice Award in 2013— but we are blushing particularly bright after meeting Tizita Hagere.

Tizita, seventeen, is a She’s the First Scholar through their partner organization in Ethiopia, Selamta Family Project, which unites orphaned children and marginalized women to create forever families and bright futures by providing stable housing, excellent education and other developmental resources.

And Tizita’s future is bright indeed as she is also the star of Difret, an award-winning film from executive producer Angelina Jolie. Shot in Ethiopia, the film tells the story of fourteen-year-old Hirut Assefa (based on Aberash Bekele) who is kidnapped on her way home from school and ends up shooting her would-be husband in an effort to escape. Sentenced to death, Hirut finds hope when Meaza Ashenafi, the founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, steps in to argue her case. Directed by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, the film has been celebrated for its powerful message and for its ability to spark dialogue around one of Ethiopia’s most brutal traditions.

Tizita, who joined Selamta in 2006, after her father passed away and her mother was too ill to care for her, has always had a knack for acting. She has acted in many plays and skits for shows known as “Selamta Idol.” She also attended theater camp where her acting abilities caught the eye of the producer and director of Difret who asked if she would audition for the role of Hirut Assefa.

The rest, as they say, is history, and as the film continues to make waves in cities across the country, we were lucky enough to meet Tizita on a recent visit to New York. We caught up with the young actress on what it was like to appear in her first feature film, meeting Angelina Jolie, and the age-old question of New York vs. L.A.

What was the audition process like?
He (director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari) gave us a scene, a script and I was the first one to get it, and I had the screen test. I had to cry. I asked him, “Do I have to cry”? I couldn’t. He gave me two chances and I couldn’t. I thought I was out, but I wasn’t.

How did you feel when you found out you had been cast in the film?
When I got cast I was really happy. I think that was the happiest day of my life.

How long did you work on the film?
The shooting was I think one month. It was short. But it took two or three years for the whole process.

And what was it like to work with Meron Getnet?
She is one of the most popular actresses in Ethiopia. I was happy to see her! I saw her in her car. I was screaming.

Did you meet Aberash Bekele?
I did. I met her once. I haven’t gotten to talk to her. We had photos, and that’s all. I learned a lot from the movie. I think it will change many things.

How did your siblings and classmates respond?
They ask me a lot about it, about the story, the shooting. Because it’s unique. Three girls from Selamta are in the film. One of them is my best friend. We’ve been friends for nine years.

What’s next?
I want to be an actress but I know school is important. I also want to be a medical doctor, to do surgery things. Both!

What classes do you enjoy most?
I love biology. I don’t know why, I just love it. The body things, especially the heart.

What was it like to meet Angelina Jolie?
Wow. She’s just wow. She’s very kind. She gave me two iPads, one for me, one for my family. She was very kind and very friendly.

The word “Difret” means courage, what does that mean to you?
I think Hirut was brave, because she was fighting with the tradition, not with a man. I think it’s hard even to think about that. I’m not as brave as she is!

What did you think when you saw the film?
Wow. That was weird! I had never seen myself on a screen. I cried. I thought I was good at it! I was like, was that me?! I was proud of myself!

And what do you hope people take away from the film?
For boys, guys, I want them to see that they have to be kind for a woman, that they can’t control them. And for girls, I want them to learn that they can do anything. They can even change the law! She did. I want them to be brave.

Do you have a favorite moment from filming?
I liked it when we were shooting in a car and somebody called me little Meron (Getnet). She’s a well-known actress! I was happy!

What is it like to be a celebrity in Ethiopia?
There are no paparazzi there! We don’t know their stories. They’re kind of free, but they have a lot of fans.

Is there anyone in your life that you look up to?
My mother.  She encourages me. She’s strong. She always told me to think for others, not only for myself. That’s a big one.

And how do you like New York?
This is my first time. I think it’s great! I like it. I went to the Museum of Natural History, and I went to Central Park. I’ve had a lot of new foods. I like the French fries.

New York or LA?
LA! It’s chilly here.

Don’t forget to join the conversation and see how you can help at http://www.difret.com/take-action.


Party Dressing:
The Kendra Jumpsuit

The Kendra is the life of any party: she’s adventurous and spirited, without overshadowing the hostess. What we love most about the Kendra jumpsuit is the ease: it’s lace with stretch that’s flattering and soft, with an elastic waist that doesn’t take any fussing—and doesn’t take away from the polish of a black floor-length look. Speaking of polish, we love matching the Kendra to a lace heel, and adding a super glamorous clutch for shine. Like the girl who leaves you with a smile when she walks away, the Kendra has a parting wink of her own: a daring open back that’s sure to turn heads in any room.


Party Dressing:
The Kaleb Shift

The Kaleb dress is like the perfect hostess: it’s dazzling, adaptable and puts everyone at ease. In a stunning beaded floral over lace, the sleeveless shape is a versatile choice that can be worn alone or over a sheer black blouse, pairing with a delicate gold heel or solid black suede over tights. Just pick up a matching clutch and you’ve perfectly accessorized our favorite party dress for this holiday season!


Our New Brand Ambassador!

Congratulations and a warm welcome to Hanna Beth Merjos, who has been selected as the next DVF Global Brand Ambassador! We’re all looking forward to working with Hanna Beth as she begins a year that will change her life, and continues on the journey to becoming the woman she wants to be!


Meet Feven Yohannes, Our Fiat Winner!

Diane von Furstenberg and House of DVF just gave away a custom DVF-printed Fiat 500x to the woman who could explain in one photo and one tweet how she became the woman she wanted to be. All of the judges were so inspired by our winner, Feven Yohannes, who wrote: “From Eritrea to a refugee camp in Sudan, I carry the pride of my people & the strength of my mother.” After Diane presented Feven with the Fiat, we caught up with this inspiring young woman to hear more of her story. 

The story of how you became the woman you wanted to be was so inspiring to everyone who voted! Tell us more about where you’re from, and how you came to be who you are today.
The story begins before I was born. My father was a freedom fighter and leader in the Eritrean-Ethiopian war and he was eventually exiled from his own country as he foresaw and spoke out against an inevitable Eritrean dictatorship.

My father (who was just recovering from injuries caused by a land mine explosion leaving him blind in his left eye), and mother (who was four weeks pregnant with my older brother Thomas), walked from Asmara to a refugee camp in Gibra, Sudan. They did this with no money and only with the clothes they were wearing. I once asked my father, “What did that feel like?” To which he replied with a smile, “It’s like walking from LA to San Francisco. It took us a few months but we got there.”

Two years after they arrived at the refugee camp we were born literally in a hut. I say “we” as I have an identical twin sister. My mother didn’t know she was expecting twins. I was born first. Then fifteen minutes later my mother felt a sudden urge and just like that, Helena entered the world. It was not only the biggest shock of their lives, but it was also a huge shock to the community of friends they made in the refugee camp.

Twins in Sudan are not glorified as they are in the United States or in another parts of Africa. So, when we were born, people began to distance themselves from my parents. Poor with no family and very few friends it was my mother who decided to apply for a green card – naturally my father was very supportive.

My mother is a dreamer. She told my father, “I had a dream we would be in America very soon.” And she was right! We won the green card lottery and moved to Rochester, New York a year later where our younger brother, Nate (who was recently appointed by the White House as a Presidential Appointee to the U.S. Small Business Administration) was born. 

Who in your life inspires you?
My mother and father inspire me everyday. They are my heroes. Watching my parents struggle, but turning it into an opportunity for a better life for our family, has instilled a confidence and resilience within me.

My twin sister Helena is my rock and actually bought me my first copy of ‘The Woman I Wanted to Be.’ She said, “You have to read Diane’s book, it will change the way you look at life.” And she was right. Diane’s story, her grace, her independence, her brand, and the legacy she has created inspires me to be the woman I have always wanted to be. 

What was your introduction to Diane von Furstenberg?
My mother introduced me to DVF when she brought home the most elegant-modern black and white chain link wrap dress that she insisted she buy for herself! (I think I was ten years old at the time.) I have to mention that when my mother wants something, she’ll work overtime for it. Even if my father could get it for her, it means more to her that she buy it on her own. I love that about my mother and equally love that my father is so encouraging and supportive of her.

Tell us about when you found out that you won the Fiat, and about meeting Diane.
A little over a year ago I sold my car and invested the money into my startup I Heart Savvy. The very little money I’ve made since then I put into my business, so I really needed a car. But I didn’t win just any car – I won a custom wrap DVF Fiat 500x Crossover, because of a tweet! I still can’t believe it and I am so honored to drive around LA as an extension of an incredible brand that has inspired millions of women to be the driver in their life. DVF is a movement. Meeting Diane is by far the most incredible thing that has happened to me on this journey. As I walked up to her I told myself, “Feven don’t cry” and then…tears. I was so overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude. To meet the woman who has inspired and influenced you not just in fashion but also in life is a surreal feeling. I can never thank her enough. My life is forever changed by this moment. I never imagined that an Eritrean political refugee would be standing next to her idol, the icon that is Diane. This really is the American dream. 

What goals are you working towards now? Do you have any new projects on the horizon?
What makes the FIAT contest win even more special is that it came from a woman that I admire so deeply. Diane designs dresses for the modern woman and we are creating a mobile app for the modern millennial bride. I’m currently one of three co-founders (one of whom is my twin sister, Helena) of an all women LA-based wedding technology startup called I HEART SAVVY. The wedding industry is 100 billion dollar industry in the United States alone and 80% of the spending is offline. It is simply a graveyard of innovation and we have the rare opportunity to change that.

Diane loves mantras. Are there any words you live by?
“I come as one, I stand as 10,000.” I often repeat those beautiful words by the phenomenal Dr. Maya Angelou when I need motivation, a reminder of how far we’ve come and to keep going. As a political refugee from Eritrea, sometimes taking a moment to think of those we left behind in the refugee camp and our parents’ sacrifices really motivates me to keep pushing! I firmly believe this journey is bigger than just me. It is a purpose.


Coffee with Joffe:
Final Thoughts

Spoiler alert! Each week, DVF Style Editor Jessica Joffe is debriefing Sunday night’s episode. Read more for her take on all the latest drama, but be sure to catch Episode 8, the season finale, first! 

And so, my dears, we come to the end of another season of House of DVF. It seems as though we’ve only just started, but here we are, crowning our new princess, putting our sketchpads and pin cushions away, and reflecting on the last few months.

I’m terribly excited for Hanna Beth, who has a good head, a good heart and a fresh perspective, to be our new brand ambassador. But first my final round of notes on their presentation.

It should come as no surprise that the pressure of the competition finally gets to be too much for Cat and Alli. Cat seeks refuge in her rage and Alli in her tears. I understand both of them, and though Cat’s outburst is frightening and inappropriate I understand and have compassion for her: she wants it that badly. Diane likes this aspect of her, but I don’t. Ultimately she’s too much of a liability to take on but I hope and expect she will learn from this episode and modulate her relationship with her own desire (which she expresses at the expense of everything, including propriety) as she grows up and moves along in her career. Alli has been holding it in for too long and pushing herself too hard. I hope she knows that, like making brand-appropriate sartorial choices, home décor can also be taught! I am not sure how I myself would have performed with as little prep as she had.

The fact that Hanna Beth ultimately remains calm in the face of so much stress is one of the reasons she is now our brand ambassador. She finally demonstrates the effortlessness, flexibility and grace our brand stands for. She is also secretly a little wry sense of humor which will come in handy over the next year.

I wish I had had the good fortune to sit in on Stefani’s brand seminar. She is one of the true sages in this business and the girls owe the success of their presentations in large measure to her. As their teachers we have to be strict, and sometimes I wish we had been stricter. We are not there to hold their hands but to push them to meet their potential. The job they are all gunning for is not for amateurs. It relies heavily on self-determination, discipline and passion. If you are truly passionate you don’t have to force it, it comes naturally. Stefani makes that very clear every day.

In the end I am thrilled with each girl’s presentation. They are warm, congenial and articulate. I prefer Hanna’s design to everyone else’s — it’s the most distinctly on brand — but Cat and Allie both sold their ideas with gusto and I’d wear Cat’s dress even if it wasn’t DVF. After nearly half a year in the program, they have FINALLY figured out that working together does not undermine their individual accomplishments. Is it possible to start the program all over again? Anyone?

Again, I’ve learned more than I ever imagined from the girls. About myself and them. It is a humbling experience to mentor them all, and I am grateful for every moment. Vulcan death grip allegations, pink silk robes, tears, laughter and all!


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