News

Get the Look:
Weekend Getaway

Mod silhouettes in a fresh ikat are our new favorite uniform for weekend escapes. Light, packable, and ready to mix and match, you can pair these with black separates for a day in the office before jetting to your favorite escape. With a chic sandal and swinging mini bag, this tunic and trouser combo has us thinking of Jackie O. in the Greek isles—just add oversized shades of course!

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DVF Awards:
2014 Honoree Veronika Scott

As we look forward to the 6th annual DVF Awards on April 23, we’ve been sharing updates from some of our prior honorees on how their work has evolved since receiving The DVF Award. 

Veronika Scott founded the Empowerment Plan as a 20-year-old student in Detroit. She employs homeless mothers as seamstresses, who make convertible sleeping bag coats that are distributed to homeless individuals free of charge. Veronika was chosen as the 2014 People’s Voice Award honoree by popular vote.

Tell us about your DVF Awards experience.
The whole experience in New York, from start to finish, was absolutely amazing. The night of the awards, I was surrounded by some of the most intelligent, inspiring, and powerful women in the world. As a young female entrepreneur working to better the lives of women caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, I was motivated by the countless stories I heard that evening. I cannot put in to words how impactful it was to hear the passion Alicia Keys has for children living with HIV/AIDS, to see the collaborative spirit between Vital Voices winners Liron Peleg-Hadomi and Noha Khatieb, to watch one of my idols, Gloria Steinem, receive the Lifetime Leadership Award, and to feel Kah Walla’s presence and strength. Each interaction was unique and powerful and has motivated me to continue pushing boundaries.

How has your organization changed in the past year, since winning the DVF Award?
Since winning the DVF People’s Voice Award last year we have grown exponentially! We have hired 9 more individuals onto the Empowerment Plan’s team thanks to the support given by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation and the whole DVF family. Not only were we able to hire and support that many new people but we were able to reach our goal of producing almost 5,000 coats in 2014! These coats have now been handed out in 29 states across America and 4 Canadian provinces! Our strength and vision as an organization have been on the same growth curve over the last year as well. We have added programming to help equip the women and men we hire with leadership, communication, and professionalism skills.

I am extremely proud to share that everyone on our team has been able to transition out of the shelter into secure, furnished housing. One of the ladies we hired last summer, Takecia, has really taken her opportunity at The Empowerment Plan and turned it into a greater opportunity for growth and success. She now has a beautiful apartment, is enrolled in college courses, and most recently was able to purchase a vehicle. For being in her early twenties, Takecia possesses such strength, wisdom, and maturity. Her determination to create a better life for herself and her daughter inspires me day in and day out to work harder for all the women that are still struggling to make it.
Our tangible growth has been immense, but so has the awareness of the Empowerment Plan brand. Winning the DVF People’s Voice Award has given this organization so much credibility and helped push our mission into the national spotlight. More people than ever before are aware of who we are and what we do in Detroit and are globally supporting us and spreading our mission.

What goals are you working towards next?
We are currently in the process of planning out what the next three to five years are going to look like for The Empowerment Plan. As a team, we have talked about becoming sustainable and scaling our employment model into other cities, but we are now in a position to really plan out how we will make our vision a reality!

We know that the more we grow, the greater the scale of our impact. We will no longer only be affecting the people we employ, the people that receive our coats, but also the generations of children and family members that will not be trapped in the cycle of poverty because of our work. I am shocked, thrilled, and a bit terrified by the road ahead of us.

One of the biggest plans for our future is developing our coats for retail. We are working on building out a program that will allow us to sell the coats we make, while also still staying true to our mission by continuing to employ individuals from shelters. By bringing our product to the retail market, we will be able to increase our revenue stream in an effort to expand our employment programs and offer more opportunities to those in need. In planning for the expansion of the organization, we need to make sure that we implement the best practices and processes. We are currently looking for design expertise and assistance, a new space to carry out our operations, and experience in the fields of brand development and retail marketing.

For more information and to learn how you can help, visit empowermentplan.org.

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News Flash:
Diane in the TIME 100

We’re thrilled to share the news that Diane is being honored as one of the 2015 TIME 100 Most Influential People! This year’s “Icons” category also includes Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Pope Francis and Malala Yousafazai, among others. Head to TIME for Jessica Alba’s piece on Diane’s work in fashion and philanthropy, an exclusive interview, and the full list of honorees. Congratulations Diane!

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Celebrity

Spotted:
Miranda Kerr in DVF

You can always count on Miranda Kerr for the best in effortless elegance. This week, the model mom was spotted in a DVF Pre-Fall maxi while on the go at LAX, and we’re ready to pair our favorite floor-length styles with a satchel and sunglasses for our next getaway. From spring weddings to summer travel, there’s a maxi dress for every moment!

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Highlights

Jessica Joffe’s Guide to the Tribeca Film Festival

Thirty of the 114 narrative and documentary features having their world, North American or New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year are directed by women. You might say that 26% percent isn’t high enough, but since 2014’s percentage of woman directing movies that went into wide release was at a paltry 4%, let’s hope these films all find wide distribution for the tide to shift once and for all. Among the films premiering this year are also a number of female-centric portraits directed by men, lest we forget to give our favorite male directors adequate credit.

The Festival kicked off last night and here are my top picks in the narrative and documentary feature category this year. Tickets are still available so run downtown (or to your computer where tickets are only a mouse click away at www.tribecafilm.com).

Song of Lahore
Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken serve up a fascinating view of the once legendary musical bastion Lahore and the brave musicians who have continued to play despite Pakistan’s increasing Islamisation since the 1970’s. An inspiring tale of art triumphing over ideological repression.

The Adderall Diaries
World premiering in New York, Pamela Romanowsky’s first feature is adapted from Stephen Elliott’s best-selling memoir about his descent into Adderall addiction following a bout of writer’s block, subsequent embroilment in a high-profile murder case, and personal unraveling. Played here by James Franco, Elliott–who was once my college writing professor–gets a nice makeover and a hot girlfriend in Amber Heard.

Being 14
If you loved Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” as much as I did, and not simply because you will always be a teenager at heart, this beautifully observed French feature by 25 year old director Hélène Zimmer is for you. Shot in real time, her debut follows a group of young girls as they navigate the waters of early adolescence with all the attendant heartbreak, drama and excitement.

CODE Debugging the Gender Gap
Hot on the heals of the landmark Pao vs Kleiner verdict, and a few months following Gillian Jacobs’ illuminating short film about Grace Hopper – who helped build the world’s first computer at Harvard, the Mark 1, and invented the world’s first computer language, COBOL, comes the most comprehensive exploration into the dearth of women working professionally in the computer sciences. Here’s to a world where more than 19% of the workforce is female.

In My Father’s House
In Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s documentary, Chicago rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith decides to move back to the neighborhood where he grew up, buy his childhood home and raise his own family there, only to discover his absentee father is a homeless alcoholic living down the road. In this moving portrait of a man trying to reconcile his past with his future, forgiveness trumps all.

Meadowland
Celebrated cinematographer—a profession in which women have even less of a presence than computer science—Reed Morano directs her first feature here, about a couple of young parents (played by Luke Wilson and Olivia Wilde) whose lives unravel as their son goes missing. A self-assured and patient debut, Morano looks set to continue shooting and directing her own films for a while.

Peggy Guggenheim – Art Addict
Lisa Immordino Vreeland brings the same intelligently admiring touch she brought to “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” to this rousing portrait of Peggy Guggenheim: famous art collector, empress of modern art, museum founder, lover and possessor, arguably, of the best taste this side of the Medici family. If you have not been to the foundation that bears her name, be prepared to book a ticket to Venice the moment the curtain falls.

Sworn Virgin
2015’s it-girl Alba Rohrwacher— Tilda Swinton’s pale-faced daughter in “I Am Love”— plays a young woman raised in a small northern Albanian village where, in order to break free of the proscriptive and domestic role expected of a woman, she becomes a “sworn virgin” to live like a man. As Mark, she eventually travels to Italy where she discovers who she really is.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs through April 26. 

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News

DVF Awards:
2014 Honoree Veronika Scott

As we look forward to the 6th annual DVF Awards on April 23, we’ve been sharing updates from some of our prior honorees on how their work has evolved since receiving The DVF Award. 

Veronika Scott founded the Empowerment Plan as a 20-year-old student in Detroit. She employs homeless mothers as seamstresses, who make convertible sleeping bag coats that are distributed to homeless individuals free of charge. Veronika was chosen as the 2014 People’s Voice Award honoree by popular vote.

Tell us about your DVF Awards experience.
The whole experience in New York, from start to finish, was absolutely amazing. The night of the awards, I was surrounded by some of the most intelligent, inspiring, and powerful women in the world. As a young female entrepreneur working to better the lives of women caught in the vicious cycle of poverty, I was motivated by the countless stories I heard that evening. I cannot put in to words how impactful it was to hear the passion Alicia Keys has for children living with HIV/AIDS, to see the collaborative spirit between Vital Voices winners Liron Peleg-Hadomi and Noha Khatieb, to watch one of my idols, Gloria Steinem, receive the Lifetime Leadership Award, and to feel Kah Walla’s presence and strength. Each interaction was unique and powerful and has motivated me to continue pushing boundaries.

How has your organization changed in the past year, since winning the DVF Award?
Since winning the DVF People’s Voice Award last year we have grown exponentially! We have hired 9 more individuals onto the Empowerment Plan’s team thanks to the support given by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation and the whole DVF family. Not only were we able to hire and support that many new people but we were able to reach our goal of producing almost 5,000 coats in 2014! These coats have now been handed out in 29 states across America and 4 Canadian provinces! Our strength and vision as an organization have been on the same growth curve over the last year as well. We have added programming to help equip the women and men we hire with leadership, communication, and professionalism skills.

I am extremely proud to share that everyone on our team has been able to transition out of the shelter into secure, furnished housing. One of the ladies we hired last summer, Takecia, has really taken her opportunity at The Empowerment Plan and turned it into a greater opportunity for growth and success. She now has a beautiful apartment, is enrolled in college courses, and most recently was able to purchase a vehicle. For being in her early twenties, Takecia possesses such strength, wisdom, and maturity. Her determination to create a better life for herself and her daughter inspires me day in and day out to work harder for all the women that are still struggling to make it.
Our tangible growth has been immense, but so has the awareness of the Empowerment Plan brand. Winning the DVF People’s Voice Award has given this organization so much credibility and helped push our mission into the national spotlight. More people than ever before are aware of who we are and what we do in Detroit and are globally supporting us and spreading our mission.

What goals are you working towards next?
We are currently in the process of planning out what the next three to five years are going to look like for The Empowerment Plan. As a team, we have talked about becoming sustainable and scaling our employment model into other cities, but we are now in a position to really plan out how we will make our vision a reality!

We know that the more we grow, the greater the scale of our impact. We will no longer only be affecting the people we employ, the people that receive our coats, but also the generations of children and family members that will not be trapped in the cycle of poverty because of our work. I am shocked, thrilled, and a bit terrified by the road ahead of us.

One of the biggest plans for our future is developing our coats for retail. We are working on building out a program that will allow us to sell the coats we make, while also still staying true to our mission by continuing to employ individuals from shelters. By bringing our product to the retail market, we will be able to increase our revenue stream in an effort to expand our employment programs and offer more opportunities to those in need. In planning for the expansion of the organization, we need to make sure that we implement the best practices and processes. We are currently looking for design expertise and assistance, a new space to carry out our operations, and experience in the fields of brand development and retail marketing.

For more information and to learn how you can help, visit empowermentplan.org.

Share
Celebrity

Spotted:
Miranda Kerr in DVF

You can always count on Miranda Kerr for the best in effortless elegance. This week, the model mom was spotted in a DVF Pre-Fall maxi while on the go at LAX, and we’re ready to pair our favorite floor-length styles with a satchel and sunglasses for our next getaway. From spring weddings to summer travel, there’s a maxi dress for every moment!

Share
News

Get the Look:
Weekend Getaway

Mod silhouettes in a fresh ikat are our new favorite uniform for weekend escapes. Light, packable, and ready to mix and match, you can pair these with black separates for a day in the office before jetting to your favorite escape. With a chic sandal and swinging mini bag, this tunic and trouser combo has us thinking of Jackie O. in the Greek isles—just add oversized shades of course!

Share
News

News Flash:
Diane in the TIME 100

We’re thrilled to share the news that Diane is being honored as one of the 2015 TIME 100 Most Influential People! This year’s “Icons” category also includes Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Pope Francis and Malala Yousafazai, among others. Head to TIME for Jessica Alba’s piece on Diane’s work in fashion and philanthropy, an exclusive interview, and the full list of honorees. Congratulations Diane!

Share
Highlights

Jessica Joffe’s Guide to the Tribeca Film Festival

Thirty of the 114 narrative and documentary features having their world, North American or New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year are directed by women. You might say that 26% percent isn’t high enough, but since 2014’s percentage of woman directing movies that went into wide release was at a paltry 4%, let’s hope these films all find wide distribution for the tide to shift once and for all. Among the films premiering this year are also a number of female-centric portraits directed by men, lest we forget to give our favorite male directors adequate credit.

The Festival kicked off last night and here are my top picks in the narrative and documentary feature category this year. Tickets are still available so run downtown (or to your computer where tickets are only a mouse click away at www.tribecafilm.com).

Song of Lahore
Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken serve up a fascinating view of the once legendary musical bastion Lahore and the brave musicians who have continued to play despite Pakistan’s increasing Islamisation since the 1970’s. An inspiring tale of art triumphing over ideological repression.

The Adderall Diaries
World premiering in New York, Pamela Romanowsky’s first feature is adapted from Stephen Elliott’s best-selling memoir about his descent into Adderall addiction following a bout of writer’s block, subsequent embroilment in a high-profile murder case, and personal unraveling. Played here by James Franco, Elliott–who was once my college writing professor–gets a nice makeover and a hot girlfriend in Amber Heard.

Being 14
If you loved Catherine Hardwicke’s “Thirteen” as much as I did, and not simply because you will always be a teenager at heart, this beautifully observed French feature by 25 year old director Hélène Zimmer is for you. Shot in real time, her debut follows a group of young girls as they navigate the waters of early adolescence with all the attendant heartbreak, drama and excitement.

CODE Debugging the Gender Gap
Hot on the heals of the landmark Pao vs Kleiner verdict, and a few months following Gillian Jacobs’ illuminating short film about Grace Hopper – who helped build the world’s first computer at Harvard, the Mark 1, and invented the world’s first computer language, COBOL, comes the most comprehensive exploration into the dearth of women working professionally in the computer sciences. Here’s to a world where more than 19% of the workforce is female.

In My Father’s House
In Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s documentary, Chicago rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith decides to move back to the neighborhood where he grew up, buy his childhood home and raise his own family there, only to discover his absentee father is a homeless alcoholic living down the road. In this moving portrait of a man trying to reconcile his past with his future, forgiveness trumps all.

Meadowland
Celebrated cinematographer—a profession in which women have even less of a presence than computer science—Reed Morano directs her first feature here, about a couple of young parents (played by Luke Wilson and Olivia Wilde) whose lives unravel as their son goes missing. A self-assured and patient debut, Morano looks set to continue shooting and directing her own films for a while.

Peggy Guggenheim – Art Addict
Lisa Immordino Vreeland brings the same intelligently admiring touch she brought to “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” to this rousing portrait of Peggy Guggenheim: famous art collector, empress of modern art, museum founder, lover and possessor, arguably, of the best taste this side of the Medici family. If you have not been to the foundation that bears her name, be prepared to book a ticket to Venice the moment the curtain falls.

Sworn Virgin
2015’s it-girl Alba Rohrwacher— Tilda Swinton’s pale-faced daughter in “I Am Love”— plays a young woman raised in a small northern Albanian village where, in order to break free of the proscriptive and domestic role expected of a woman, she becomes a “sworn virgin” to live like a man. As Mark, she eventually travels to Italy where she discovers who she really is.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs through April 26. 

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News

The DVF Times – France Edition

One iconic design. Twelve strong women in a world of endless possibilities. The DVF Times highlights young tastemakers at the beginning of their careers, presenting their personal style, passions and words to live by.

EDITOR’S LETTER by Diane von Furstenberg

Once Upon A Time…
I too was at the beginning of my life! I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to be… independent, free, and in charge of my own life. Fashion turned out to be my “path to freedom” and as I gained my own confidence with the success of my wrap dress, I gave confidence to others via that little dress. Four decades later, that little dress has evolved but its magic continues to inspire new generations of girls who want what I wanted: to be effortlessly sexy and always on the go!
Here are a few young women who inspire me and who remind me of how I felt at the beginning of my adult life, at a moment when the world is full of endless possibilities!
Go for it, girls… be the women you want to be!

Love,
Diane

Explore The DVF Times – France Edition.

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Mother’s Day Must Have:
The Carrie Dress

Up the sweetness factor for your Mother’s Day fête with a clean shift dress in rosy hot pink. A staple in any wardrobe, our classic Carrie is back in bright hues that will last all season for work-to-weekend dressing. We love pairing this shift with a peekaboo lace jacket to show off the color, plus a clean white pump and a modern envelope clutch–it’ll leave your hands free for flowers and gifts!

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Love Diane

Love Diane:
A Magical Day in Bagan

After a restful week sailing the Andaman sea, swimming into the caves where the most appreciated Asian delicacy, the swift nests, come from, we decided to fly to Bagan, the sacred city in Myanmar, an extraordinary landscape frozen in history where 3100 temples, pagodas and stupas have continued to shine since the 11th century. Memen, our guide, took us around inside many stupas, showing off all the magnificent Buddhas and the preserved relics and telling their stories with passion and pride. So much beauty, so much peace, so much karma piled up there for centuries. We marveled at the vision of a most elegant woman leading a pack of cattle to graze amongst the temples and stopped at the lacquer workshop Golden Cuckoo to witness the process of how the softened bamboo shoots become works of art. We had a delicious picnic of mixed curries under a shady tree, walked through a monastery and watched monks teach small children. Before leaving, we walked down to the river that leads back into the Andaman. A very memorable place that will stay with us forever.

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Highlights

Jessica Joffe:
The #TZRXDVF Coachella Brunch

On a wonderfully hot day Rachel Zoe and Rodger Berman opened the doors of their sprawling Palm Springs home to celebrate the arrival of summer, a new range of beautiful DVF sunglasses and a little music festival called Coachella. Maybe you’ve heard of it. As a gaggle of gorgeous gals slowly trickled in (Coachella time), late morning champagne and mezcal cocktails were poured, impromptu croquet games commenced and one brave soul (the irrepressible Erica Pelosini) jumped onto a floating swan in the pool, without getting a drop of water on her tiny pins.

Caroline Vreeland, Shea Marie and Elizabeth Gilpin sauntered in, wearing summer gingham and Riviera blue, raving about the AC/DC performance they had seen the night before. Although they were heading back to the festival, most of the girls confessed that they’d be spending most of their time relaxing with friends away from the hullabaloo. The intimate lunch under the chuppah served as a perfect respite. Superblogger Aimee Song and her sister Dani raved about the sunglasses while the delightful Holland Roden and her Teen Wolf boyfriend Max Carver realised that the frames were just as becoming on him as they were on her. Boys take note!!

The stunning Emily Ratajkowski arrived last, excitedly greeting Old friends Leigh Lezark and fellow Misshape Geordon Nicol. As everyone sat down for an indulgent brunch featuring vast platters of bacon brioche and bowls of punch, the ever-gracious Rachel Zoe surveyed the scene and smiled.

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Weekend Agenda:
Gösta Peterson

Beside the buzzing handball courts on East 1st Street, a small white box gallery is primed to be the highlight of your Saturday stroll. “From the Archive,” a solo show by legendary fashion photographer Gösta Peterson has just been extended through the weekend at Turn Gallery.

The show is small, but impactful. Peterson’s mastery of composition and light betrays his background as an illustrator, and the mod looks of the day cooperate with clean lines and color blocking, plus wonderful textures, from gamine ribbing and patent leather to elaborate feathers and a transparent wide-brim hat, captured with the sun spilling in.

Peterson’s work transcends the moment it documents though; the fashion may be 60’s, but his penchant for using people spotted in the street or across the room, in lieu of top models, adds to the timeless quality of his portraits. Highlights include a shot of two little boys found in the street (well, he found one, who insisted his friend come too), as well as a gorgeous image of Naomi Sims in front of the Metropolitan Museum, and an appropriately eccentric portrait of Peterson’s friend Salvador Dalí.

If you’re lucky, there’ll even be a friendly dog, the gallery’s mascot of sorts, ready to follow you around, stepping affectionately on your feet and forcing you to spend even longer admiring Peterson’s composition. After the show, stop at Bluebird across the street for a coffee and continue on your way. Happy strolling!

“From the Archive” runs through April 12 at Turn Gallery.

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Highlights

Jessica Joffe’s Coachella Packing Guide

Leave your dreamcatchers, flower crowns, tiny tots and wearable geodes at home this year. With a musical (and culinary) lineup that’s as eclectic and impressive as it’s ever been, nothing should distract you from the godliest of activities: dancing (and singing along).

The only garment any seasoned festival-goer should wear is a wrap (w)romper. Easy, short, cool: you’re not only dressed for the weather (sweltering) but also for the occasion (awesome). You’ll never worry about a wardrobe malfunction or an accessorizing disaster because everything goes with it. Sneakers — particularly our crocheted cutie — aren’t too delicate for the terrain but are breathable, and your feet are just the place for an unexpected touch of color. A white 440 crossbody keeps your hands free and is all you need for your essentials (see below) as well as 4-5 raisins and almonds to tide you over ‘til your late-night 5-course meal at the Coachella Rose Garden. Who knows, maybe you can convince loveable and huggable (former chef/current rapper) Action Bronson to woo you culinarily.

Now, for packing. Think practically and bring only the bare necessities with you:
*three extra phone chargers or phones, leopard cases a must
*refillable water bottle (don’t waste a drop: California is in a serious drought)
*horse food (in case you see a rogue polo pony roaming the grounds, which are, after all, polo fields the remaining 50 weeks this year)
*wet wipes (to wipe down whichever set of shoulders you climb onto while Drake performs)
*pink pen and paper to send paper airplane love notes to Vic Mensa and Alison Wonderland while they perform
*a Lomo’Instant camera, for photos that turn into instant calling cards (write your name on the back of each one and see how many suitors you can collect at each gig)
*enormous earphones to block out any unwanted noise as you move from stage to stage
*sunglasses (to wear at night, when it really matters)

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