Journey of a Dress: From Princess to Fashion Legend

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What: Journey of a Dress

$: Free

Where: Wilshire May Company Building

Location: 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile



You know someone has made their mark in the world when you refer to them with just three single letters. Without question, Diane von Furstenberg, is and will leave this world, a fashion legend.

Once, a real life princess in the early 70s wanted to be more than just someone’s glamorous wife and decided to start a fashion career shortly after marrying a real life prince. Unlike most fairy-tales filled with princes and princesses, theirs wasn’t a happy ending. Luckily, this isn’t the end of her story. In fact, it was just the beginning.


{DVF, 1972.}

DVF’s claim to fame came in 1974 when creatively taking an everyday piece of clothing, the woman’s dress, and revamping its design to harmonize with the changing of times for the then modern-day female.

It was the wrap dress. A cotton jersey knit, drip-dry dress that typically hit just above the knee, conveniently wrapped in front and tied ever-so-chicly at the waist. It came in vibrant colors and eclectic patterns. It signified independence, playfulness, sophistication, confidence, and sexual liberation – while catering to practicality, comfort, and femininity.

Wear a dress logo final

{The tag that started it all.}

Women no longer needed their significant others to help them in or out of dresses that had tricky buttons or hard to reach zippers down the back. They could easily dress (or undress) themselves in no time at all. DVF’s ever popular design worn by millions, could easily take a woman from the rigors of the boardroom to a night out on the town. In effect, the 1st generation wrap dress revolutionized fashion and womanhood during the frenetic energy that was the 1970s.

And it turns 40 in 2014.

DVF thew it a big 40th birthday bash and invited us all to the party.

Thus, the phenomenal exhibition, Journey of a Dress.

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{Exterior – Wilshire May Company Building, today.}

Just adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), resides the historic May Company Building on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax Boulevard. Once home to one of the finest department stores on the legendary Miracle Mile in Los Angeles, the Art Deco inspired building is now an LA landmark due to its streamline moderne architectural design. The building itself is nostalgic to fine retail, high fashion, conservation, and permanence in Los Angeles culture. Most appropriately, it’s the site for our “Journey of a Dress.”

Collage Exterior

{Exterior – Wilshire May Company Building, today.}

The moment you walk into the space, you realize very quickly that the theme and intention of the exhibition is to remain true to the spirit of her iconic wrap dresses. The ambience is fun, feminine, and vibrant.

The first gallery pulsates with upbeat music, bright pink walls, neon writing, and her famous signature chain link dress print creatively used as treatment on the floor. Picture after picture of Ms. DVF herself and the impact of her dress across fashion, film, politics, and the everyday woman is showcased in a visually enthralling timeline format.

interior gallery

{Timeline gallery.}

As you take in the large photos of everyone from Cybill Sheperd in Taxi Driver in 1976, to Michelle Obama on current political business, each donning the wrap dress as they move through their endeavors, you grasp the lingering impact of what really is just a simple idea. From Studio 54 to the White House, the wrap dress, which epitomized versatility in design, was and is versatility itself. And though it’s turning 40, the age where women might start to feel less than youthful, the wrap dress is proving to be otherwise. It’s proving to be timeless.

Wrap-Dress Gallery #1

{Madonna, Michelle Obama, Penelope Cruz among others to rock the iconic wrap-dress.}

Suddenly, you’re in the next gallery. The music a touch louder, the floors (and now walls) all covered in DVF’s vibrant signature dress prints.

And then, there they are – hundreds of mannequins inside a large spacious showroom, decked in all things DVF over her incredible career. Vintage wrap dresses, contemporary wrap dresses, special collection/anniversary items, and jumpsuits surround you, treating your eyes to a fashion feast and the ultimate closet.

Mannequins Final

{Wrap dress gallery, first display.}

5 Favorite Looks

{Five of my favorite looks from the collection.}

Of course, it’s not over yet. The exhibition also makes it a point to take a moment to reflect on the woman herself in a section just off the main galleries that is more calm, intimate, and modern in atmosphere. The final gallery finds you enveloped around stark white walls filled with portraits, where legends of the art world take center stage: paintings of DVF by Andy Warhol, photographs of our heroine by Peter Lindbergh and Annie Leibovitz to name a few. There’s such a sense of history to the work that graces the walls in various forms of artistic expression and it’s quite fascinating to see how each artist captures the spirit of the exact same woman in different phases of her life.

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{Andy Warhol, Diane von Furstenberg, 1974.}

While the exhibition celebrates the “Journey of a Dress,” it’s really also a salute to a woman who somehow managed to one-up herself. What might have been thought to be the end of the fairy tale once the princess leaves her prince, turns into a testament of how the (now former) princess did even better. She built an empire estimated at $1.2 billion, eventually found a new prince, and re-wrote her fairy tale.

It’s quite inspiring to see, experience, and celebrate DVF’s achievements up-close and personal through the Journey of a Dress exhibition. And though the perks were likely nice, it’s also beyond inspiring to see what a strong-willed, confident, and creative woman can do when she’s no longer a just a princess, but a woman with a vision. It’s almost as if the show is really about the “Journey of an Icon.”

The exhibition runs until May 1st.

It’s art. It’s fashion. It’s vibrant, feminine, inspiring, refreshing, and just plain fun.

It’s one hell of a party. Make sure you RSVP.

Wrap Dress Showroom









The DVF Art Salon


Art Salon Gallery

{Interior. DVF art salon.}


{Andy Warhol, Diane von Furstenberg, 1973.}


{Zhang Huan, Diane, 2011.}


{Annie Leibovitz, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, ca. 1990.}


{Peter Lindbergh, Diane, 2009.}

Signing Off

Blend me and book

{Signing off, but not before signing the guest book. Good times!}

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The Power of Photography

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 Where: The Annenberg Space for Photography

Location: 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City

Every time I step into the courtyard of the Annenberg Space for Photography, I look up at these two massive buildings that form a cocoon around me and somehow forget the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica Boulevard just beyond. This is quite ironic given that this same courtyard is shared with other prominent businesses, namely Creative Artists Agency, likely making it quite the opposite of experiences Monday through Friday as talent agents wheel and deal on their next big project. However, on the weekends, most of the activity is to your far right at what has become one of my favorite (and free!) ways to spend a weekend afternoon, checking out the latest photography exhibition at “The Space.”

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{Exterior, The Annenberg Space for Photography.}

I’ve seen a handful of exhibitions at The Annenberg Space for Photography over the last 3 years since discovering this gem among the massive buildings, ranging in visual commentary, genre, and tone. Themes span from topics such as the social connotations on the culture of beauty, to those who helped shape the evolution of rock & roll music, to capturing the risk and devastation of war photography. Without fail, I find each exhibition to be more engaging than the last.


{A few of the stills shared outside the galleries in the courtyard.}

Currently on display at “The Space” is a visual tribute to National Geographic Magazine’s 125th anniversary, known for publishing some the most recognizable and iconic images in history, aptly titled “The Power of Photography.” The Annenberg transforms nearly every single ounce of wall space into a mosaic, sharing over 400 photographs from Nat Geo’s famed collection. With nearly 11.5 million photographs in their archive, narrowing down the selection to put on display would be a challenge for anyone. I applaud how they chose to overcome such a challenge. Alongside the overwhelming print mosaic gracing its walls, the exhibition is expressively curated with 30 large, high-definition, LED screens installed into the walls – showcasing 501 images with stunning clarity, looping every 50 seconds or so.

What is quite magnificent about “The Power of Photography” exhibition is that because the screens are in a constant state of flow, looping through hundreds of images, you could walk the entire length of the show and start fresh or come again on another day – where you are guaranteed a new experience. This sounds pretty amazing in theory, and it is! Unfortunately, I also found it hard to navigate because of this.

This where my one criticism lies with digital exhibitions, particularly, in small spaces. Unlike print stills that invite you to look at the work and move on, multiple graphics in one place is quite the opposite. When the main attraction is on a large screen slowly sifting through images, it can only help but draw crowds of people to stand in front of each screen for long periods of time, creating clusters of people around you that disrupt your interaction with the works of art. If you’ve ever been to the Annenberg, it’s not the biggest of galleries. In fact, this is a complaint that I often have visiting here. It hasn’t deflected me from attending their amazing exhibitions because it still is one of the best curated galleries in town, but is a problem when visiting The Space on the weekends.

As you maneuver though the crowds in an attempt to absorb the photographs, what ultimately redeems itself, despite the cramped experience, is the work of art. You’re instantly struck by the the emotion in many of the images published in National Geographic Magazine throughout the years. I was awed as I took in vast architectural structures, the most eclectic of animals, portraits of people from all over the world, images capturing the conflict in humanity, while highlighting its undeniable beauty. I’ve been inspired to look into getting a National Geographic subscription to keep that awe with me long after the exhibition closes next month.

Unfortunately, due to copyright, photography is not allowed inside “The Space,” but the Huffington Post wrote a great article last fall sharing 15 of the highlights on display.

It’s quite amazing if you think about it. Photography, one of the oldest of visual mediums and artistic expressions, seems to be growing with age. Nearly everyone has a camera on their phone today. Instagram (a personal favorite on mine) now has over 150 million active users. And the blogoshpere continues to share stories using images to enhance their words. The point is that “The Power of Photography” is proving itself to be timeless.

The exhibition runs until Sunday, April 27th.


A Day in the Garden

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Where: The Huntington Library

Location: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

The sky was cloudless, piercing blue, and perfect. The sun shining ever so brightly and ever so presently at (a not-so-temperate) circa 93 degrees. It was the definition of a beautiful day. One of the most relaxing afternoons I’ve had all month was when I found myself taking advantage of what I thought was the final stretch of an extended LA summer (but really wasn’t) and headed out to San Marino to experience one of the most breathtaking estates in town, The Huntington Library.

While world renowned for its fine European and American permanent art collections, changing exhibitions; as well as its rare books collection establishing an equally renowned research library – I have quite the soft spot for their stunning botanical gardens!

Curated in such a way that literally takes you through geographic recreations of gardens around the world, spanning 120 acres among the massive 207 acre property, I spent a Saturday afternoon strolling a colorful Rose Garden into a lush green Japanese Garden, complete with the popular moon bridge (pictured above); through stalks of large bamboo, completely encapsulating you as you walk along the concrete path somehow finding yourself in an open Australian garden. Not too far further, lily ponds appear, leading you up to the Subtropical terrain and into the humid Jungle Garden.

My favorite memory from this day was simply taking a moment to sit on an unassuming bench, thick stalks of bamboo all around – sitting in silence, listening to the low chirp of the birds while watching the squirrels frolic in the trees. The world seemed so far away and in that span of time, I was completely present to my surroundings.

The museum closes pretty early (4:30pm) and we arrived a little later than planned. Rather than to rush through the galleries to appreciate the fine art collections and their special exhibition, we arrived in just enough time to leisurely indulge in perfect nature. What a day…in the garden.


{Rose Garden.}


{Japanese Garden.}


{Chinese Garden.}


{Rose Garden. // A photo op in the shade.}

Becoming L.A.

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Where: Natural History Museum

Location: 900 Exposition Boulevard, South Los Angeles

When I first heard about the new exhibition, Becoming L.A., now open at the Natural History Museum, I knew it couldn’t tie into the theme of All That Glitters any better. This LA-centric show focuses on the origins of what would become the City of Angels; beginning its tale with the 44 settlers who migrated from Mexico to found an agricultural community in 1781 – joining a few of the already established Spanish missions in California as the 4th official “pueblo” 232 years ago. From there, mission life and their contribution to the cultivation of a new environment is explored (albeit through historically known harsh treatment of the Native Americans that isn’t readily highlighted); to the importance and influence of cows (seriously!) for successful cropping development, to the colonization of the area by Mexican rule once Spanish influence was overturned, until that rule is later lost during the Mexican-American war, where Los Angeles became a part of the United States. The exhibit ends with my very biased, yet favorite part of the exhibition: contemporary L.A. – showcasing the turn to movie-making, Hollywood, and all things 20th century.

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Spending almost 2 hours in the gallery on a dreary Saturday afternoon, I easily found myself completely engaged and completely overwhelmed at the influx of information and history around me. Told through a walking narrative as you explore the 14,000-square-foot gallery space, the atmosphere is surprisingly very dark and dramatic overall, providing a more moody vibe to take in the more than 250 artifacts. Original photographs of various settlers and places, paintings of early California missions and prominent individuals to the development of L.A., household items and furniture of the time, tools, a rare sighting of the 1902 Tourist automobile, books, and filming equipment are among the objects on display. It was beyond fascinating to learn how a simple town of 44 would eventually become one with millions, both in populous and economic industrial endeavors.

While the museum does a solid job of compressing over 200 years of history into a cohesive experience, I had grievances with the presentation of the show visually. At times I was so unimpressed, that I found parts of the exhibit to be rather uninviting. Specifically, I was distracted by the museum’s choice to align many of the paintings and photographs intentionally so high that it was hard to appreciate them. And not that they were running out of wall space either. In some cases the walls right in front of you at eye level were literally empty, yet you were forced to take in paintings well over 7 feet high up on a wall. Even more frustrating, accompanying text was written in black on already darkly painted walls making it extremely difficult to read labels. Not to mention that while eliciting a great mood, the low-lighting made it nearly impossible to capture awesome pictures for my post! But this isn’t a deal breaker. I know that museum’s do this at times to preserve the physical integrity of the art and perhaps even the strange positioning of the paintings I mentioned might allude to this as well – though I gather this was more of a poor design choice. Either way, the essence of a museum is to be welcoming to guests and presentation is everything. The placement of some objects took away from an otherwise enlightening experience.

That being said, I would still make it a point to see Becoming L.A. It earmarks the triumphs and tragedy of building what would become one of the greatest metropolis’ in the world. The exhibition is the newest addition to the Natural History Museum’s permanent collection.

1-2013-07-20 13.28.09{Interior – gallery.}

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{The importance of cattle to the development of L.A. agriculture. It’s amazing what a little grazing and cow “poop” can do!}

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{The actual table that the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed on effectively ending the Mexican-American War.}

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{A rarely restored 1902 Tourist automobile.}

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{Hello Hollywood!}

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{The birth place of the electric guitar.}

Television: Out of the Box


Where: The Paley Center for Media

Location: 465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills


If you’re in the area looking for something fun and inexpensive to do on an otherwise uneventful L.A. weekend between now and 2015, take a trip to The Paley Center for Media (after a stop at Sprinkles for a cupcake fix, of course!). They are currently hosting an exhibition highlighting 60 years of Warner Bros. Television. Television: Out of the Box, takes guests outside the confines of your TV screen and into the actual series. Costumes, props, scripts, set re-constructions, photos, and (sorry to say) a pretty mediocre audio tour welcome you as you walk into the mid-sized gallery space.

Enjoy the legendary history of how now famed Warner Bros. Television Studios came to be through a visual journey of its beloved sitcoms, prime-time dramas, and even the first stints of reality based programming. Spend some time analyzing just how small Jennifer Aniston’s waist really is as you look closely at one of her trendy Rachel Green ensembles, smile at the huge collection of staff badges for everyone from George Clooney to Angela Bassett as they solved the medical conundrum of the week at County General Hospital on ER, hang out at Monk’s Diner (minus Jerry and the gang), then sing-a-long karaoke style to some of the most well-known opening credit sequences from your favorite shows.

In West Philadelphia, born and raised…” (Don’t even get me started. This song will be in my head all day!)

In short, it’s an entertaining way to spend an afternoon. The staff was extremely friendly and passionate about all things TV. What most impressed me is how vast the catalog of WB television programming actually is when you take it in collectively. Some of the shows that made my childhood and teen years were thanks to the production arm of Warner Bros. Television. Without them, Family Matters, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Sisters, Gilmore Girls, Living Single, ER (though I gave up a few years on this one before it actually went off the air), Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs among others were staples in my life for many years.

A note about the audio tour: while I know how much work goes into creating any form of media, especially these types of tours, this one is pretty bland, but it is free if you want to check it out to prove me wrong anyway. The equipment that the center uses desperately needs an update, and overall I found the level of the content to be pretty surface and un-engaging.

Otherwise, what a treat! If you make to it to the exhibition between now and 2015, please drop me a line! I’d love to know your thoughts.


{Rachel Green Costume / Friends 1994-2004.}


{Cast signed final shooting script / ER 1994-2009.}


{Lynda Carter Costume / Wonder Woman 1976-1979.}


{A nod to all things WB Animation. I loved Animaniacs!}


{And your host (me!) hanging out on the famous Central Perk sofa from Friends.}