Scent of a Woman: Diane von Furstenberg Visits NorthPark Center

It's not often you see a line forming outside a store in a shopping center on a Tuesday afternoon, but that was the scene when women of all ages -- and a few men -- gathered to meet celebrated fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg when she appeared at the Sephora in NorthPark Center yesterday for a meet-and-greet with fans.

Sephora employees wore black blazers and slacks as usual, but gave a nod to the designer by donning pebble-printed scarves with her signature emblazoned on the corner. Clad in those iconic jersey wrap dresses, models lined the exterior of Sephora and waved small flags printed with the phrase "Be the woman you want to be."

"Be the woman you want to be" is the tagline for Diane von Furstenberg's latest perfume, Diane, her first fragrance in eight years and the reason for her visit to Dallas.

Around 2 p.m., a well-dressed crowd -- with bottles of perfume in hand or in glossy Sephora bags -- began to line up outside the store, but we were inside, snapping up bottles of the new fragrance for DVF herself to sign. Hey, we need Christmas presents for mom and ourselves, too.

The models outside Sephora began to chant, "DVF! Be the woman you want to be," and nearby customers remarked they could see her shaking hands with people outside the store and posing for photographs. As she entered the store, von Furstenberg greeted several employees, after which one exclaimed, "I want to be adopted!"

She looked effervescent as she flowed into the store, wearing an abstract printed tunic and leopard platforms. Later, we learned she recently broke a toe which she said was the reason her heel was dangling off her foot when she was autographing perfume bottles.

Asked to pose near a display case containing bottles of Diane and their companion boxes, von Furstenberg carefully eyed the case and wanted to make a few changes before having her photo snapped. She had a store employee open the box and reached into to remove a silver tray that held a bottle. She moved a few more bottles and boxes around until the display was to her liking. She's a hands-on designer, and it was evident that attitude extends to the smallest details.

Before giving autographs and posing for pictures with fans, von Furstenberg took a few moments to be interviewed by NBC 5's Jane McGarry. Upon seeing her, a DVF spokesmodel told us, "I love watching her on Good Morning America." Maybe she had McGarry confused with Diane Sawyer and maybe she thought it was 2009, but we think Jane would be a good fit for GMA.

Von Furstenberg then addressed other media members, discussing the new perfume and explaining that the notes of violet and frangipani made it special, but we already suspected it was the perfect scent to extinguish any notes of cigarette smoke or general bar odors that we usually collect on a night out. Yeah, it's that good.

The designer has said that her goal in creating Diane was to "redefine what a real perfume is about: memory and addiction," so what fragrance brings back memories for her? "For me, it's really nature," she said, "The smell of the woods after it rains."

And what does she think of Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez and other celebrities who create trendy, albeit less than memorable, fragrances? "I think that's totally fine, but what I wanted to do was create a classic perfume that lasts forever."

As we got in line to have our bottles of Diane signed, a woman told us she was going to ask the designer about her son, Anderson Cooper. That's Gloria Vanderbilt, we told her. "Well, they're so much alike," she said.

As we watched von Furstenberg perched on a table, signing bottles and casually chatting with fans, we were struck by her approachability.

Sephora held a raffle for those who had purchased the new perfume, and the winner received a wrap dress in a pebble pattern that matched the shape of the Diane bottle. When a ticket was drawn and the numbers read aloud, no one came to claim the prize, so von Furstenberg said, "I can say [the numbers] in Spanish!" After she repeated the sequence in Spanish, the crowd collectively cooed, "Aww." When no one responded to that, she said, "I can say it in French!" Again, a collective "aww." She repeated this in German and Italian, with the same reaction from the crowd and still no winner. Finally, the store employee drew a new number, and a customer sprinted to receive her dress and a hug from von Furstenberg. It seemed a large portion of the crowd, like that particularly excited Sephora employee, wanted to be adopted by von Furstenberg.

Von Furstenberg's been all over the US and the world promoting the perfume, so what does she think of Dallas and the women here? Dallas has "the most beautiful women in the US," according to the designer. And what really attracts her to the city? "The architecture is incredible." She said she's always impressed by the new buildings she finds when she visits. Well, Ms. von Furstenberg, there's a stunning, if not functional, piece of architecture by Calatrava that's opening soon, so come visit us again.

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