HISTORY OF DIANE VON FÜRSTENBERG
You only regret what you don't do! Go for it, live your dreams and enjoy it all!
~ Diane von Fürstenberg
It’s time to focus the True Fashionistas spotlight on the well-rounded life of Diane von Fürstenberg. We’re confident that shoppers of True Fashionistas, Naples' best consignment store, would love to know about the inventor of the iconic wrap dress. As it turns out, she’s so much more than that. Ms. Von Furstenberg has spent the latter part of her life upping her Third Act game. As philanthropist and author, Ms. von Fürstenberg continues to this day in her efforts to make as much of a difference in the world as she did for fashion earlier in her fabulous life.
HISTORY OF DIANE VON FÜRSTENBERG – THE EARLY DAYS
Diane von Fürstenberg, née Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, was born December 31, 1946, in Brussels, Belgium, to a Romanian father and Greek-born Jewish mother - a Holocaust survivor, no less - in 1946. Von Fürstenberg credits her mother with instilling positivity within her, telling Vogue UK, "She survived the camps at age 22, and taught me only to look at positive things no matter what happens." Weighing a scant (horrifying) 49 lbs. upon liberation, she gave birth to Diane a mere 18 months later, defying doctor's orders and expectations.
While attending the University of Geneva in Switzerland, Diane met and wedded her first husband, Prince Egon zu Fürstenberg, the German elder son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg and his first wife, Clara Agnelli, an heiress to the Fiat fortune. They married in 1969, moved to New York, had two children, and divorced amicably in 1972. Diane began designing True Fashionista clothes in 1970 in order to have a career. "I wanted to be someone of my own and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts," she told the New York Times in 1977.
HISTORY OF DIANE VON FÜRSTENBERG – THE WRAP DRESS AND MORE DESIGNS
Von Fürstenberg first designed her now-iconic wrap dress in 1972 when she decided to combine wrap tops and skirts into a single garment. The world couldn't get enough of it, and by 1975 she was making 15,000 dresses a week. Five million dresses later, DVF found herself to be an icon of seventies women's liberation and female empowerment. Everyone was wearing them, including von Fürstenberg herself on the cover of Newsweek in 1976.
She became a regular at Studio 54, hanging with Warhol and Bianca Jagger, and the world followed her string of relationships that included Warren Beatty and Ryan O'Neal. She made appearances all over the country, helping women tie their wrap dresses while also empowering them through fashion. Currently, there is an entire Masterclass devoted to the dress. A 2017-2018 exhibit at MOMA entitled, Items: Is Fashion Modern?, which focused on the wrap dress, also marked the museum’s first fashion exhibit since the 1940s. It also doesn't hurt to browse True Fashionistas, the best designer consignment store, for DVF arrivals before they disappear.
By the eighties, as tastes shifted, she took a break from the business. By the nineties, Von Fürstenberg was ready to jump back in and did so in her True Fashionista way by selling $1.2 million worth of scarves on QVC in a single hour. DVF was back, baby! She also unveiled a diffusion line of reissued prints in classic ready-to-wear accessories, named Diane, in 2011.
HISTORY OF DIANE VON FÜRSTENBERG – THE PHILANTHROPIST
In 2001, Diane married media mogul Barry Diller, with whom she initially had a relationship 32 years earlier. Getting married was something they had discussed doing once they got old. As she told The Independent in 2008, "One day it was his birthday, and I didn't know what to give him, so I said, 'If you want, I will marry you for your birthday.' So we went to City Hall with my children and my brother, and we got married."
The couple set up the Diller-Von Fürstenberg Family Foundation, a private family foundation that provides philanthropic support to various non-profit organizations. In 2010 she launched the DVF Awards, which recognize women whose leadership skills and vision have had a positive impact on the lives of other women around the world. Some notable recipients of the award include Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, conservationist Jane Goodall, media leader Oprah Winfrey, and social-political activist Gloria Steinem.
In August 2010, she promised to give away half of her fortune to the Giving Pledge initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to encourage America's wealthiest families to donate money to society's most serious problems. She has also been honored with the Award of Courage for her efforts combating AIDS internationally, as well as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal from the Municipal Art Society of New York for her part in redeveloping the Meatpacking District (where she currently has a home and a store). Add to those honors her work supporting the city's High Line Park, a public space built on an abandoned elevated railway track. Mr. and Mrs. Von Fürstenberg-Diller donated $10 million toward the effort.
HISTORY OF DIANE VON FÜRSTENBERG – KEEPING BUSY TODAY
In 2021 at age 74, von Fürstenberg has not slowed in the least, releasing her latest book, Own It: The Secret to Life, which shares her well-earned wisdom for enjoying both personal and professional growth at any age. She is also launching a new line of prints in collaboration with H&M HOME. In her own words via the announcement press release, "The prints in the H&M HOME collaboration are very iconic, like the 'Diane' print I created 20 years ago when I started the company." The release further describes the 31-piece collection as "a range of interiors and decorative items including wool blankets, cushion covers, boxes, trays, candles, espresso cups, small plates, vases, pots, posters, and a robe."
Just before the pandemic, Diane was honored with the esteemed Légion d'Honneur award for her service to women's liberation, her impact on fashion, and the $100 million she raised for the renovation of the Statue of Liberty. Although her brick and mortar stores, like most, have suffered from the pandemic's economic fallout, the brand remains intact and available online.
Sounds like something as True Fashionista as Ms. Von Fürstenberg herself. Browse her continuously updated collection at True Fashionistas consignment store Naples or in our online store. Find our authentic collection of everything DVF on eBay as well.