Bess Jenkins Club continues study of women fashion designers


The Bess Jenkins Club met recently in the Oak Room at the Pine Bluff Country Club with President Marjie Hart presiding.

In keeping with the year’s study — Women Fashion Designers — Mandy Alford presented an interesting program on well-known fashion designer, Diane von Furstenberg, who was born in Belgium in 1946. She grew up in Brussels and attended boarding schools, first in Switzerland and later in England, after which she went to Madrid to study Spanish. There she met and later married Prince Edward Egon von Furstenberg in 1969. They soon settled in America.

Furstenberg was beautiful, glamorous and very stylish. Though she obviously had no need to work, she launched her own clothing business because of a strong desire for independence. She epitomized the glamour of the 70s and quickly made a name for herself when she designed a simple jersey wrap dress, which women loved. It soon became the symbol of women’s liberation of that era. Her clothes were versatile and affordable and she rapidly rose to fame.

The next 30 years saw her business soar, then decline, then surge again in popularity to become the multi-million dollar fashion empire it is today. During this period Diane and von Furstenberg separated and divorced. In 2001 she was married to Barry Dillon. Diane still has her magical allure, relaxed and confident manner and the husky Belgian accent, with a touch of American, for added charm.

After a brief business meeting, hostesses Mary Shannon Fikes, Beverly Warren, Martha Sue Simmons and Jo Ann McGeorge served coffee and a delicious cheesecake embellished with a delicate lime sauce and whipped cream. Tables were topped with white cloths and centered with fresh potted shamrock plants in upturned top hats trimmed with green and white accents.