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Because Smart and Chic Can Mean Almost the Same Thing

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Diane Von Furstenberg, photographed in the meatpacking district.  

No. 111
Considering how ruthlessly mercurial fashion can be, the tenacity of Diane Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress is nothing short of miraculous. Here it is, 30-plus years after its splashy debut, in 1973, and it’s still clinging in all the right places. At 58, the Brussels-born designer is herself the embodiment of chic: the type of languid and self-possessed European who makes Americans feel hopelessly puritan and square. And yet, after 40 years here, she’s a model New Yorker: She’s crusaded for the preservation of landmarks (“I saved the High Line,” she says immodestly) and created a mini–cultural center in her West Village loft, where she’ll host an Edward Albee reading one night, a PEN Awards party on another. She also keeps residences in Paris and L.A.—where she has just opened shops—but she’s most at home here. “We are lucky,” she says in her leopard-print accent. “We are on the sea, so the air is good; we are surrounded by water; and we almost always have a beautiful day.”

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