Iman: The Dress That Changed My Life

I was in a automobile entrance home from a airfield in 2010 when Diane von Furstenberg called me and said, “Darling, a CFDA has nominated you.” And I’m like, “For what? I’m not a designer.” And she said, “The Fashion Icon Award. It was unanimous.” And we said, “Well, I’m honored.” Then automatically we was like, “What a ruin am we going to wear?”

I knew we wanted something that would comparison time, that nobody could ever put a date on. we didn’t wish a color, so if we demeanour during a black-and-white design it could have been 1950. It had to be couture and have a participation though feel undying and iconic.

Giambattista [Valli] had sent me a integrate of dresses for other events, and pleasing as they were, they took adult a whole room. I’ve always told him jokingly, “I’m not Sarah Jessica Parker.” I’m most taller than she is, though somehow she pulls off these outrageous gowns effortlessly. we don’t like large gowns. we have a Somali body; we’re really small-boned, so things can overcome me. And we don’t wish to wear something that I’m disturbed about how to travel in all night.

When we was nominated we contacted Giambattista, and he sent some pictures, and we was like, “This is a dress!” When we know, we know. So he sent a dress to me in New York, and we had a lot of fittings; we were still tweaking it during a really final minute. we wanted this dress to be like it was cut for me. You see some celebrities on a red carpet, and a dress is approach too long, and we think, “Why didn’t anyone hem it?” It’s one of those things someone in conform knows. we could travel in this dress; it was easy. we wore it with a classical black satin Manolo Blahnik heel. we also wanted my hair and makeup to comparison time. That’s since we chose a stylish chignon. we didn’t wish any lip, usually a small bit of a hazed eye. And afterwards a jewelry. We went to Fred Leighton, and they were like, “Oh, with your neck, we should wear a prolonged earring.” And I’m thinking, “No, we shouldn’t. That will destroy this picture.” we finished adult wearing elementary solid earrings and some solid bracelets. I’ve always been anti-trends. I’m not meddlesome in wearing a latest length or a engineer who is hot. When we travel into a room, we wish people to remember me rather than what we am wearing.

“It had to be couture and have a participation though feel undying and iconic.”

I asked Isabella Rossellini, who is a really tighten friend—and an idol in my mind—to benefaction a endowment to me. we afterwards wrote my debate and ran it by my father [the late David Bowie]. He finished certain that we rehearsed. He said, “I don’t wish we looking during teleprompters. It’s your speech; we should know it.” we was like, “God, don’t make it so difficult.”

Only a performer like him would know something like this, since when a dress arrived he told me to try it on with a heels and contend my speech. And we forgot half of it. He said, “That’s since dress operation is done. You put on a clothes, we mount there, and we will feel it.” Thank God we had him to travel me by that. we felt extraordinary in a dress, and it was a smashing night. we wasn’t displaying anymore, though we was in a room full of people we knew, both determined designers I’d worked with and young, up-and-coming ones we admired. One of them was Alexander Wang, who finished a dress for me, a brief dress, for a celebration hold in my respect a week later.

You don’t win a Fashion Icon Award; you’re awarded it, so my debate was about being grateful for what got me here, like my prolonged neck, that we hereditary from my parents. we also wanted it to be humorous and to have a quotable moment. My father didn’t know how my debate ended; he listened it for a initial time when we got adult there. we said, “Now we can finally contend to my husband, ‘Move over, you’re not a usually idol in a house.’” He told me that it was a ideal ending, and for me it was a ideal dusk being with him and wearing a ideal dress, that I’ve archived.

My father never kept any of his awards in a apartment—everything was in his office. But now we have dual statues during home, my endowment and a reverence endowment that a CFDA gave to my father after he upheld away. They lay side by side. As Told To Natasha Silva-Jelly

This essay creatively appears in a Dec 2017/January 2018 emanate of Harper’s Bazaar.

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