Diane von Furstenberg's Wonder Woman-inspired fashions

The famous designer has poured American patriotism and female empowerment into her colorful, Amazonian new clothing.
I must admit that, upon first looking at the dresses in Diane von Furstenberg's newest collection, I didn't automatically scream "Wonder Woman!" But, apparently, that wasn't the Belgian-born designer's intent.

In fact, the Amazon princess was an inspiration only, not a--pardon the pun--model. There are no knee-high boots or hot pants in sight. Just bright stars and stripes blended together fluidly to suggest the theme rather than shout it in starburst speech bubbles.

It's been a long journey for the leading heroine of the DC Comics universe, who was created by psychologist William Moulton Marston in 1941 as an estrogenic alternative to the tights-wearing he-men crowding news stands every week. In her first four-color appearance, Princess Diana left her home on Paradise Island to fight the Axis powers during WWII. She weathered the storm of criticism that rained down on comics during the 1950s and tried to stay current through the sci fi-heavy Silver Age. But she remained relatively unknown outside the newsprint medium until the 70s, when she graced the premiere cover of Ms. magazine and was transformed into a feminist icon. Following three TV seasons of Lynda Carter's flawless smile, Diana's immortality was secure.

It was that sense of female empowerment von Furstenberg latched onto when assembling her clothing collection, which debuted in London late last week. "The message is that there's a wonder woman inside every one of us."

The designer--an American citizen who cast her absentee ballot for Barack Obama--also has written an accompanying limited edition comic book with the bewildering title The Adventures of Diva, Viva and Fifa. The book bears the message "Be the Wonder Woman you can be." All proceeds from the sale of the comic, plus a portion from the collection, benefit Vital Voices, a non-governmental organization that aspires to empower women in developing countries.

"What Diane von Furstenberg has done for us, by the Wonder Woman book, by supporting us in the way she has done has raised the profile of Vital Voices," said Vital Voices co-director Baroness Mary Goudie. "And by her example, she's empowering young women and other women around the world."

[Original report by CNN's HILARY WHITEMAN.]
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