US-based Diane von Furstenberg has long been a darling of the media. Since her marriage to German Prince Egon von Furstenbergin 1969, the Belgian designer has been used to having her share of the spotlight. In 1972, she entered the fashion world with rather radical directive: “Feel like a woman. Wear a dress.” Inspired by the femininity of a popular blouse and capitalising on thewomen’s movement and the importance of comfort, the wrap dress was born. Four years later, over five million dresses had been sold and Diane had become a darling of the media. Supported by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, and having graced covers of glossies such as Newsweek (she remains the only fashion designer to have been on the cover) spot, she was named “the icon of the women’s liberation” and wasbeing compared to idol Coco Chanel. After retreating to Paris for a few years, Diane re-emerged on the fashion scene in 1992 with the launch of her own television show on selling channel QVC. In 1997, fifteen years after its birth, Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress was relauched, much to the fanfare of a younger generation: who were, ironically, the daughters of her original customers. Today, theDVF empire spans ready-to-wear, fragrance, shoes, luggage, jewellery and sunglasses.
SEGMENTATION & POSITIONING
The DVF woman is confident, urbane and cares about her environment. Although she is style conscious, her primary concern is feeling good about what she is wearing and what she is doing. DVF does not engage in extensive customer segmentation as it is a brand that spans severalgenerations; it is not uncommon to see mothers & daughters shopping together.
“I design for the woman who loves being a woman.”–Diane von Furstenberg
DVF’s position is anchored on female empowerment. As such, its products are on trend and timeless at the same time. Marketing messages focus less on the clothes and more on the lifestyle. However, what sets the brand apart from its competitors can bestbe surmised by one of its mantras: “Attitude is everything.” Being true to oneself, experiencing joy and being an active member of the community are integral aspects of the brand. Today’s return to values only helps reinforce DVF’s position.
Diane founded her brand on a grassroots effort, literally knocking on fashion editors’ doors and establishing herself as a staple of thesocial scene. In the decade following the brand’s relaunch, DVF has had a relatively straightforward marketing strategy.
• A primary focus on PR and capitalising on Diane’s celebrity status and involvement in special projects, including:
CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America): Diane became a member in 1999, was awarded the lifetime achievement award in 2005 and has served as CFDApresident since 2006. Within this high profile media role, the brand naturally benefits from additional exposure.
Co-branding projects such as the DVF Barbie collection with Mattel (2006), and collaborations with Brazilian jewellery designer H. Stern and homeware with The Rug Company.
Guest appearances including cult TV reality show, Project Runway and a Diane von Furstenberg American Expresscommercial. DVF also partook in TV series “The City” (the MTV spin-off of “The Hills”) by hiring celebrity Whitney Port which was filmed in DVF headquarters in New York’s meatpacking district.
Philanthropy and more: in conjunction with Warner Brothers, DVF launched a Wonder Woman capsule collection (2008) with proceeds going to female charity Vital Voices. Each 8th March, DVF sponsors events inhonour of International Women’s Day. DVF is involved in a number of other charitable causes.
• From 1997-2007, DVF had a limited amount of traditional media spend: roughly $300,000 per year. This was divided amongst print (regional US books, such as those of Niche Media, with emphasis on front of book full pages and outside back covers) and out of home, with the majority of this spend going to...
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