She may have taken on the world, but Diane von Furstenberg has finally fulfilled her dream of opening a store in London’s Mayfair. Lauretta Roberts pays a visit
Separating Diane von Furstenberg the woman from Diane von Furstenberg the brand can be tricky, partly because those around her refer to both the woman and the brand by her now-iconic initials. When they say “DVF is about empowering women”, you assume they mean the brand, but when they add that “DVF is due at 3pm” you’re not so sure any more.
In any case, it doesn’t matter. DVF the woman is the embodiment of DVF the brand, so the two are pretty much interchangeable. Von Furstenberg only wears her own clothes, her own fragrance, her own cosmetics and her own jewellery, and every business undertaking is a deeply personal project. Her new store in London’s Mayfair is a case in point.
Von Furstenberg opened her first London store in Notting Hill in 2003 in partnership with one of her first UK stockists, London-based designer mini-chain Matches. A second store in Wimbledon followed last year, and she had been hankering after a site in Mayfair for years. “It was time for Mayfair,” explains DVF president Paula Sutter, who has been with the company since the brand was relaunched in 1997. “Diane went to school in London, so it’s very personal to her. She’s been talking about Mayfair for a long time.”
After coming close on a few locations, Matches managing director Tom Chapman eventually secured 25 Bruton Street, formerly home to a yachting company and just a few doors down from the flagship stores of both Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson.
The store officially opened at the start of London Fashion Week last month with a party attended by the great and good of the London fashion scene (von Furstenberg was particularly pleased to see British Fashion Council chairman Stuart Rose and chief executive Hilary Riva at the event), along with some personal supporters, including her boyfriend from her English school days.
“I used to shop at Wallis – it was nice then. And Jaeger, I used to like that,” recalls von Furstenberg of her shopping trips to Oxford Street during her youth. “To me Mayfair is the quintessential London, it’s so elegant and so wonderful and reminds me [of that time].”