Designer Spotlight x Diane von Furstenberg

(Diane von Furstenberg)

I first met Diane von Furstenberg (some years ago), at an event that my former boss allowed me to attend on his behalf (while I was interning at aRUDE magazine). It was a launch party for one of her new products (hosted at her studio), and it was there that she introduced herself to me and a group of friends; she shook our hands and said, "Hi, I'm Diane. Welcome to my place!" The funny thing is that when she said her name, she pronounced it 'dee-yawn,' and NOT 'die-ann' (which is how most people say it)... so, there's a little, interesting fact, for those who may not have known how to properly say her name.

Von Furstenberg was born on New Year's Eve (December 31, 1947), so it's no surprise that her life would soon become a full-on celebration!
(Diane von Furstenberg)

She has always been an advocate of social change and continuously chooses to represent those communities that are under-served and/or under-privileged. A vast majority of multi-cultural models are frequently featured in her runway, fashion shows, and this may be due to the fact that she -herself- is of an ethnically mixed background; her father was of Romanian descent (who immigrated to Belgium), and her mother was a Greek-born, Holocaust survivor. In a 2008 interview with The Independent (a British newspaper), von Furstenberg spoke about her mother and said, "She survived the [Holocaust] camps at the age of 22, she taught me only to look at positive things no matter what happens. She only weighed 49lb when she came out, but I was born 18 months later. I was her victory."
(Diane von Furstenberg)

As a youth, von Furstenberg grew up in Brussels -with her parents- and later studied Spanish at Madrid University (in 1965). On a holiday trip to the Swiss Alps, von Furstenberg met her husband, Prince Egon von Fürstenberg; they married in 1969 and had two children, Prince Alexandre and Princess Tatiana.
(Diane, with son, Alexandre and daughter, Tatiana. 1975)

Having divorced in the 1970's, von Furstenberg was no longer entitled to the full benefits of using her last name, but that did not hinder her climb to international prominence and success. In 1974, she created what is best-known as the 'wrap-dress,' an article of clothing -designed for women- that is opened and closed by wrapping/unwrapping one side of the dress' fabric to the other (from around the waist).
(Diane von Furstenberg, 'wrap dress.')

Although her ex-husband dabbled in the fashion design business as well (under the label, Egon Von Fürstenberg), it was her company (now, simply known as DVF), that would become renown; by the late 1970's, she had sold more than 3 Million dresses and had become an artistic muse for creative connoisseurs such as Andy Warhol.
(Andy Warhol portrait of Diane. 1970's)

Fast-forward to the 2000's and von Furstenberg has found herself re-married (now, to media mogul, Barry Diller), and her eponymous, fashion label is still at the top of the pops!
(Diane, with husband, Diller.)

In 2006, she became the President of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), and has used her platform to advocate for the fashion industry to utilize and promote 'healthier' and more 'diverse' models in fashion-related projects (especially during Fashion Week).
The CFDA says, "In January 2007, [we] formed a health initiative to address what has become a global fashion issue: the overwhelming concern about whether some models are unhealthily thin, and whether or not to impose restrictions in such cases. The CFDA Health Initiative is committed to the notion of a healthy mind in a healthy body, and there cannot be one without the other. The industry is determined to foster a balanced approach to nutrition, recreation, exercise, work, and relationships."

The aforementioned sounds exactly like the words von Furstenberg would use on a daily basis; her website and Twitter feed are ripe with positive quotes and affirmations, such as, "Nature is the source of strength," and, "...love is life!"
(DVF quotes)

At the tender age of 65, von Furstenberg has shown no signs of slowing down, and she readily admits to her reluctance of using plastic surgery in order to stay young; she is an avid spiritualist and Yoga enthusiast. However, she did hire French-born designer, Yvan Mispelaere -a few season ago- to aide as her Creative Director for the brand; Mispelaere has previously worked at the houses of Féraud, Chloé, Prada, et al.
(Diane, with label mate, Mispelaere. Spring 2011)

Diane von Furstenberg has celebrated 38 years of the 'wrap dress,' and we -here at STYLE 101- look forward to more, fabulous fashion from her and her DVF design house... ^___^


www.google.com, www.dvf.com, www.independent.co.uk, www.vogue.co.uk, www.fashionmodeldirectory.com

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