A wrap dress is a dress with a front closure formed by wrapping one side across the other, and knotting the attached ties that wrap around the back at the waist or fastening buttons. This forms a V-shaped neckline and hugs a woman's curves. A faux wrap dress resembles this design, except that it comes already fastened together with no opening in front, but instead is slipped on over the head. A wrap top is a woman's top cut and constructed in the same way as a wrap dress, but without a skirt.
Although it is often claimed that Diane von Fürstenberg 'invented' the wrap dress in 1972/73, Richard Martin, a former curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, noted that the form of Fürstenberg's design had already been "deeply embedded into the American designer sportswear tradition," with her choice of elastic, synthetic fabrics distinguishing her work from earlier wrap dresses. Wrap dresses had been designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s, and Claire McCardell in the 1940s, whose original 'popover (dress)' design became the basis for a variety of wrap-around dresses.
The Fürstenberg interpretation of the wrap dress, which was consistently knee-length, in a clinging jersey, with long sleeves, was so popular and so distinctive that the style has generally become associated with her. She has stated that her divorce inspired the design, and also suggested it was created in the spirit of enabling women to enjoy sexual freedom. There has even been a book dedicated entirely to Fürstenberg's wrap dresses.
Wrap dresses achieved their peak of popularity in the mid to late 1970s, and the design has been credited with becoming a symbol of women's liberation in the 1970s. They experienced renewed popularity beginning in the late 1990s, and in, for instance, the Netherlands, the chain Sissy-Boy designs and manufactures them, with some adaptations for the Dutch market. Diane von Fürstenberg reintroduced the wrap dress in 1997 and she, among others, has continued to design wrap dresses since then. Their popularity, as well as their perceived feminist significance, remains current in the 2010s.
- Grufferman, Barbara Hannah (20 February 2012). "The Wrap Star: Why Diane Von Fürstenberg Is Still On A Roll". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- Martin, Richard (1998). American ingenuity : sportswear, 1930s - 1970s. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 35. ISBN 9780870998638.
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- Talley, André Leon (2004). Diane von Fürstenberg : the wrap. New York, NY: Assouline. ISBN 9782843235245.
- "Wrap superstar: Designer Diane von Fürstenberg tells her story". The Independent on Sunday (London). March 27, 2008. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- Tanenbaum, Leora (July 14, 2015). "Because of Slut-Shaming, the Wrap Dress Still Matters". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- McKean, Erin (2013). The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time. New York: Bloomsbury. p. 201. ISBN 9781608199761. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
Revived in 1997, the dress again sold in the millions.
- Rossum, Milou van (24 April 2010). "Hollands motief" (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wrap dresses.|
- A 1970s von Fürstenberg jersey wrap dress at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- "Diane von Fürstenberg 'Journey of a Dress' exhibition opens in L.A." by Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2014