Designer Spotlight: Diane Freis

Street style featuring vintage Diane Freis 80's dress

I have this super 80's dress that I found at Beacon's Closet about five years ago.  It has this loud print that makes you feel like you might go insane if you gaze at it for too long.  It's made in a flowing georgette fabric with full sleeves and maxi skirt.  At that time I was a flight attendant with layovers in Kuwait and it became my off duty uniform there because it was lightweight but modest.  The dress may be a bit nuts but it's really gotten around.  I've worn it so much.

diane freis vintage dress

And then while shooting stuff for We So Honey I see it:  another Diane Freis garment, this time an appliqued sweater to end all sweaters.  It inspired me to learn more about this designer I'd never heard of before.  

Diane is a California blonde native and UCLA grad who hopped over to Hong Kong in the mid seventies (and in her mid twenties) to search for funky fabrics.  Soon after she moved there to open shop and start churning out her one size fits all polyester gowns in power clashing prints.  At the height of her brand, her frocks sold for $400-$1000 apiece in the likes of Bergdorf Goodman and her own boutiques.  

Today, unfortunately, the line looks suited only for beauty pageant contestants and mothers of the bride, (although some of the jersey dresses are still delightfully wacky).  But searching for the best of her 80's stuff has become one of my favorite pastimes.  The Persephone sweater is still my favorite thus far.  All of Diane's vintage pieces were made in very small runs -- no more than 10 of a kind -- so chances are you'll never see the same item twice.