Amy Adams wearing the iconic wrap dress in American Hustle, the Hollywood blockbuster set in the 1970s
“The first wrap dress arrived in 1973 in a wood-grain print. The dress was nothing, really – just a few yards of fabric with two sleeves and a wide wrap sash. But the V-neck wrap design fit a woman’s body like no other dress: snug around the chest and arms, tied flatteringly slim around the waist, full enough over the legs for a woman to take an unrestricted stride, yet tight enough to show off her bottom,” said von Fürstenberg in her autobiography.
Diane von Fürstenberg in 1973
The wrap dress turned 40 this year.
An example of a 1970's Fürstenberg wrap dress, as worn by Cybill Shepherd in the film Taxi Driver
When it launched, the wrap dress filled a gap in a market segmented by hippie rags, designer gear, fuddy-duddy polyester garments and not much in between. “It really was an answer to something women really wanted,” says Kathlin Argiro, a dress designer and adjunct professor of fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “It was a dress with a sleeve, so your arms were covered; you were appropriate but still sexy, and that was revolutionary.”