Fashion enthusiasts are likely to be familiar with the iconic wrap dress designed by Belgian fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, but that’s not all the designer is well-known for. Diane has always been a beacon of women empowerment, especially in the fashion industry, and she has done extensive work for women’s philanthropy since her fashion line launched in 1972.
This year, Diane teamed up with mixed-media artist, Ashley Longshore to celebrate extraordinary women in history by merging fashion and art communities together for an art collection for International Women’s Month.
The exhibition features 37 remarkable portraits of women including Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Cleopatra, Oprah and Rosa Parks painted by Ashley. She incorporated several of Diane’s heritage prints and her most celebrated designs into the paintings, and this collection marks the first time Ashley’s work is presented without bedazzling, sparkle or resin.
The idea for this exhibition came about during a fateful meeting over tea between the two dynamic women, where Diane suggested curating a collection of Ashley’s art to promote their love for inspirational women throughout time. From there, they developed a list of powerful and brave women, past and present, that have changed the course of history over many generations.
“Painting this collection of women was the biggest inspiration of my career. Diane sent me on a journey and being the teacher that she is, I learned so much about women from all over the world from so many different generations. To honour Diane and her history, I used her iconic heritage prints throughout the collection. I also love that Diane requested that I not use my signature bedazzle, glitter and resin. She really wanted me very raw. The result feels very fresh, honest and fearless. Diane’s quote, ‘fear is not an option’ is so pertinent in my own career because when you realize the woman that you are and who you want to become, fear really is not an option. It has been such an honour to work with Diane. She is thoughtful, brilliant and unbelievably enthusiastic about women,” said Ashley.
The curated art collection was unveiled on March 7 for International Women’s Month and will live in Diane von Furstenberg’s flagship store on 874 Washington Street, New York through May 2019. While it may be a difficult task to visit the exhibition in person, we’ve got some images of those vibrantly colourful paintings below!