Diane von Furstenberg. Woman Before Fashion

Triplex 21.04.23 > 07.01.24

In 2023, the Brussels Fashion & Lace Museum is creating an exciting event!


The emblematic wrap dress turns 50 this year. A great opportunity for the museum to devote its new exhibition to the fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. A first in Europe! Discover the inspiring career of this native of Brussels who became an international figure of fashion.


Woman Before Fashion is not a retrospective. It is a free approach to the Diane von Furstenberg’s work. The exhibition presents the creations of the famous Belgo-American fashion designer and the person behind them. Comprising a selection of over 50 models and a wide-ranging iconography, the experience begins with fashion and ends with the woman. Through an interplay of visions and a juxtaposition of creations, this ground-breaking exhibition provides the keys to understanding the incredible career of a female designer who understands women.


For a taste of the exhibition, take a look at our visitor’s guide

Don't wast

a moment

book now

your tickets

Diane von Fürstenberg. Woman Before Fashion

Woman Before Fashion: the vidéo

The Fashion & Lace Museum is hosting a tour through a new lens. Through a selection of more
than 50 models and a vast iconography, the course of the exhibition takes as a starting point the fashion and ends on the woman. A mirror to the title of the exhibition.

‘Colours are the letters, prints are the words, and the fabric and the silhouettes form the sentence’

Along with personal photographs, visitors will perceive the diversity and timelessness of her prints. The designer has a specific language of colours and prints, one that she also applies to her must-have wrap dress. Visitors will discover Diane von Furstenberg’s many sources of inspiration, such as :

  • freedom, which motivates her in her work but also in her daily life
  • the role played by art in her creations with the work of friends like Andy Warhol, Konstantin Kakanias and François-Marie Banier or more broadly abstract painting, art and architecture.

Diane von Furstenberg, Printed silk jersey dress, Fashion & Lace Museum © E.Gomez

The American dream

The exhibition also looks at Diane von Furstenberg’s phenomenal and unique career. As soon as she arrived in New York, she noticed the variety of the outfits worn by women there. These “crazy looks” fuelled her desire to introduce “the little dress” in America. The wrap dress quickly became a worldwide lifestyle.


The exhibition sheds light on:

  • her strategy of personifying the garment in department stores in line with mindsets of the 1970s
  • the development and diversification of her lines
  • her approach to women and to clients. Diane von Furstenberg meets and listens to women wearing her creations all over the United States. This enables her to develop a true and lasting link. From Amy Winehouse to Michelle Obama, women everywhere love her wrap dress
  • Finally, the exhibition looks at her philanthropy, allowing visitors to better understand her work and her commitment to women.

Diane von Furstenberg. Woman Before Fashion © E. Laurent

The wrap dress

The printed jersey wrap dress is an emblematic garment of undisputed international renown.


Its celebrity has made the wrap dress an archetypal form of fashion, in the same way as age-old garments, kimonos or uniforms. Indeed, they all share a number of characteristics. This dress has lasted for 50 uninterrupted years, all the while taking account of the trends that have marked the various decades.


Conceived by a woman, the wrap dress is part of a worldwide history of fashion designed by women. Unlike their male counterparts, they favour simple, relaxed styles, designed to suit their body language and their daily lives.


The exhibition revisits the Italian origins of the wrap dress and the story behind its structure: the combination of a top and a skirt.

Diane von Furstenberg, Leopard print jersey wrap dress, 1974 © E.Gomez

Would you like to visit the exhibition as a family, among friends or with a school group? Don’t hesitate any longer!

The museum offers you:

• a fun-filled experience for children from the age of 6, free of charge: more information is available here
• guided tours for individual visitors: take a look at our full programme here
• a range of formulas for groups: feel free to take a look

Diane von Furstenberg. Woman Before Fashion © E. Laurent

Diane von Furstenberg

Born in Brussels after the Second World War, Diane Halfin began her education at the Lycée Dachsbeck before going to boarding school in Switzerland and in England. During her studies, she met her future husband, Prince Eduard Egon von Furstenberg. Having gained a degree in economics, she learnt the art of cutting, colours and fabrics alongside the Italian industrialist Angelo Ferretti.


In 1970, she settled in New York with a suitcase full of dresses. A few years later, she launched the emblematic wrap dress, which has become a symbol of power and independence for women. Diane von Furstenberg turned herself into a real worldwide lifestyle brand.


Diane von Furstenberg continues her work for the emancipation of women, in particular by supporting emerging female leaders through her philanthropic projects.

  • In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award. She was chairwoman of this council from 2006 to 2019
  • In 2010, with the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, she created the DVF Awards to honour and subsidise women who have shown leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to their causes
  • In 2015, she was named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine
  • In September 2019, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. This was in recognition of her leadership and her achievements which have changed the course of history
  • In 2020, she was awarded the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by France
  • In 2021, she received the title of Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Couronne from her native Belgium
  • Her most recent award dates from March 2022, when she received the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award for her remarkable leadership and her dedication to women
  • She current sits on the Board of Directors of Vital Voices and the CFDA
  • Finally, she has written several books, including Diane: A Signature Life, The Woman I Wanted to Be, translated into eight languages, Own It and the latest: The Secret to Life.

Diane von Furstenberg in the exhibition ©E. Laurent

Diane Von Furstenberg : Woman Before Fashion, the book

This work is a tribute to the creative vision and feminist philosophy of Diane Von Furstenberg and her eponymous brand. This book accompanies the exhibition organised in Diane von Furstenberg’s home city: Brussels.


Printed on three different types of luxury paper with a range of inserts, it is brimming with illustrations of superb graphic fabrics and
wrap dresses worn in particular by Diane herself and models such as Jerry Hall, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. Enhanced by archive documents and contemporary photographs, the work tells the story of the fashion designer’s career. Original articles cross-reference
the relationships between her creations and feminism, gender politics and entrepreneurship. Personal anecdotes
from colleagues including the model Cindy Crawford and the entrepreneur Stefani Greenfield add the finishing touch.

This unique, contemporary work is a reference in the fashion world.

Contributions : Diane von Furstenberg, Lydia Kamitisi, Karlie Kloss, Karen Van Godtsenhoven 
Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
Number of pages: 208
Price: €65
On sale at the museum

Diane von Furstenberg. Woman Before Fashion, the book

The Diane von Furstenberg Suite

Our neighbor, the Hotel Amigo, dedicates one of its suites to the world of Diane von Furstenberg. Through some very refined details, we enter the world of the designer.


A zebra rug sets the tone. A sofa, cushions or a headboard signed Diane von Furstenberg give a very warm and shimmering atmosphere. Frames, photos and other mantras adorn the walls, just like at home. This suite is a real tribute to the designer.


To be discovered until May 2024!

To know more about it