Diane von Furstenberg Takes on China

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A year after one of America's most successful modern designers resolved to get known in China, she (along with the rest of the industry) is planning to enter the market in a big way in 2011. The New York Times this weekend reported on the upcoming opening of her career retrospective, Journey of a Dress in Beijing, where the designer seems to be pushing hard to carve herself out a wedge in a market beyond an art exhibit.

That DVF has such ambitious designs on China speaks to the impending wave of luxury fashion designers and fixating on the massive market -- she has not only given American women the nearly flawless wrap dress to wear since the 1970s, but has pioneered the influence of the industry as we know it here in the States, cultivating a billion-dollar fashion conglomerate that's still defining what's relevant for the industry. She's not the only one wading into China, either: Ms. Wintour herself recently paid the country a visit, and is now apparently even plotting to expand the Vogue Fashion Fund into China. Of course, it should come as no surprise that China is the great untapped fashion market for many American fashion insiders, so the Times piece offers an interesting look at how someone like Diane von Furstenberg is making strides.

The designer is wading into China with new boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the release of her 1998 autobiography, Diane: A Signature Life, translated by her good friend Hong Huang, who's known as "the Oprah of China." Mostly, to judge by the article, the designer appears to be throwing her weigh around a bit -- promising celebrities and fanfare at the opening and tossing around quotes about how she would "like to sell every Chinese a T-shirt."

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