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Entertaining Business – House of DVF

November 18, 2014

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Legendary clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg is out looking for a brand ambassador, using the power of reality television on the House of DVF. This series has been running for a few episodes on E!, which airs new installments on Sunday nights. (It repeats, and repeats, and repeats during the week.) Essentially, like many competitive reality shows, it’s an elimination process. Each week, a different potential ambassador gets sent home (with a lovely DVF gift bag for their troubles).

I had high hopes for the business content in this show. Von Furstenberg is a grand dame of the fashion industry, has a new autobiography out, and has extended DVF into giant global brand. The Duchess of Cambridge wore one of her gowns last week. She’s married to Barry Diller, one of the most powerful men in entertainment. So, it seemed like this series might have a lot of offer in giving us insight on her career.

Unfortunately, this is E! not CNBC. Last week’s episode  largely focused on the girls out complaining about each other while drinking large quantities of alcohol. There were a few scenes that featured DVF, or her actual employees, instructing the girls on the ways of the DVF empire, by teaching them about idea boards and look books.

Many of them had never heard of a look book, the catalog that designers send out, which is absurd for women who ostensibly want a career in the fashion industry. They also barely stopped bickering long enough to slap some pictures on poster board with a glue gun.

DVF herself is mesmerizing and educated and clearly business savvy by turning her iconic wrap dress into an entire empire, but that frequently gets shoved to the side for the sake of forced drama.

So while there is a little bit of the inner workings revealed of the House of DVF, there isn’t really enough for a fledgling designer to garner too much information. You’d probably learn more watching Project Runway.

So, Is This Show Business, Or Is It Business? I say, entertainment… in the loosest form of the word. What do you think?


Watch full episodes of House of DVF

Guardian interview with DVF

 Time Magazine’s Top 100 Icons in Fashion

Angel Cohn is a freelance journalist who has written about entertainment and television for the last 15 years. She is currently an editor at NJFamily.com. Follow her on Twitter at @angelcohn.


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