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DVF celebrates 40th year of wrap dress with a shower of gold confetti, to live music

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Diane von Furstenberg ended her runway show Sunday with a burst of golden confetti showering down from above, with her models — all dressed in shiny gold — dancing and cheering behind her.

It was a suitably celebratory atmosphere, enhanced by live music, for a designer who's enjoying a burst of attention this year because of the use of the wrap dress — a garment for which the word iconic is justified — in the '70s-themed Oscar-nominated film "American Hustle."

The designer has been marking the 40th anniversary of the dress this year, with an exhibition in Los Angeles, and there were a number of them on the runway Sunday, in all sorts of colours and fabrics.

Von Furstenberg's fall preview show also got attention because of its move from the tents at Lincoln Center, where the designer has always held her shows, to a large space in Lower Manhattan. She's one of several designers to have moved away from the tents.

"This year is the anniversary so it was nice to do something new," she said, explaining that she chose the name "Bohemian Wrapsody" for the collection, because of the anniversary and also because she was inspired by the Ballets Russe — a famous ballet company that performed throughout Europe and elsewhere in the early 20th century.

"And then it occurred to me that my wrap dress was originally inspired by the little sweaters that ballerinas wear," she said, referring to the pink sweaters that wrap with a ribbon above the waist. The finale of von Furstenberg's show, in which the models came out again, in shiny gold dresses, made clear reference to the little sweaters.

The show also featured live music by the pop singer St. Vincent, performing songs from her upcoming self-titled album. Then the singer and her band moved to a separate room, where they performed again for a group of ticket-buying American Express cardholders. The event was part of "American Express Unstaged," launched by the company in the summer of 2010 in partnership with VEVO and YouTube. The musical performances, part of a yearlong partnership with von Furstenberg to celebrate the anniversary of the wrap dress, were also live streamed on AmexUnstaged.com and DVF.com.

Last September, singer Janelle Monae performed at the runway show of designer Rebecca Minkoff as part of the same program, and American Express says it has plans to continue pairing musicians with fashion designers.

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AP writer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report.

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