Profile of Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Princess Diane of Fürstenberg (German: Diane Prinzessin zu Fürstenberg; born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin; December 31, 1946), is a Belgian fashion designer best known for her wrap dress. She initially rose to prominence when she married into the German princely House of Fürstenberg, as the wife of Prince Egon von Fürstenberg. Following their separation in 1973 and divorce in 1983, she has continued to use his family name.
Her fashion company, Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) is available in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide, with the company's headquarters and flagship boutique located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.
She is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a position she has held since 2006; in 2014 was listed as the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes; and in 2015 was included in the Time 100, as an Icon, by Time Magazine. In 2016, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from The New School.
Biography of Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Fürstenberg was born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium to Jewish parents. And 18 months before Fürstenberg was born, her mother, the Greek-born Liliane Nahmias was a prisoner at Auschwitz concentration camp. Fürstenberg has spoken broadly about her mother's influence in her life, crediting her with teaching her that "fear is not an option".
Fürstenberg attended a boarding school in Oxfordshire. She studied at Madrid University before transferring to the University of Geneva to study economics.
At university, when she was 18, she met Prince Egon von Fürstenberg, the elder son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg, a German Roman Catholic prince, and his first wife, Clara Agnelli, an heiress to the Fiat automotive fortune and member of the Italian nobility.
She then moved to Paris and worked as an assistant to fashion photographer's agent Albert Koski. She left Paris for Italy to apprentice to the textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti in his factory, where she learned about cut, color and fabric. It was here that she designed and produced her first silk jersey dresses.
Diane Simone Michelle Halfin married Egon von Fürstenberg in 1969 and became Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg. A year after marrying, Fürstenberg began designing women's clothes:
After moving to New York, she met high-profile Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, who declared her designs "absolutely smashing". She had her name listed on the Fashion Calendar for New York Fashion Week, and so her business was created.
In 1973, Diane von Fürstenbergs separated from her husband Egon von Fürstenberg.
In 1974, she introduced the knitted jersey "wrap dress", an example of which, due to its influence on women's fashion, is in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After the success of the wrap dress, Furstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976. The accompanying article declared her "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel." She launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, "Tatiana", named after her daughter. The New York Times reported that by 1979 the annual retail sales for the company were $150 million.
In 1983, Diane von Fürstenbergs and Egon von Fürstenberg divorced and two years later, Fürstenberg moved to Paris, France where she founded Salvy, a French-language publishing house. Fürstenberg started a number of other businesses including a line of cosmetics and a home-shopping business, which she launched in 1991. In 1992, Fürstenberg sold $1.2 million dollars of her Silk Assets collection in two hours on QVC.
Fürstenberg relaunched her company in 1997, and reintroduced the wrap dress, which gained traction with a new generation of women. In 1998, she published her business memoir, Diane: A Signature Life.
In 2001, Diane von Fürstenberg married American media mogul Barry Diller, and she built The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation with her husband for which she serves as director. It provides support to nonprofit organizations in the area of community building, education, human rights, arts, health and the environment. The foundation supports The DVF Awards, presented annually to four women who display leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to women's causes. In 2011, the foundation made a $20 million commitment to the High Line.
In 2004, Diane von Fürstenbergs introduced the DVF by H. Stern fine jewelry collection, and launched scarves and beachwear. In 2006, she was elected as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a position she still holds. In 2008, she received a star on Seventh Avenue's Fashion Walk of Fame
In 2009, Michelle Obama wore the DVF signature Chain Link print wrap dress on the official White House Christmas card. That same year, a large-scale retrospective exhibition entitled "Diane von Furstenberg: Journey of a Dress" opened at the Manezh, one of Moscow's largest public exhibition spaces. It was curated by Andre Leon Talley and attracted a lot of media attention. In 2010, the exhibition traveled to São Paulo; and in 2011, to the Pace Gallery in Beijing.
In 2010, Fürstenberg was awarded a Gold Medal at the annual Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala. In 2011, DVF introduced a home collection, and a signature fragrance, DIANE.
In 2012, Fürstenberg launched her first children’s collection with GapKids and a denim collaboration with CURRENT/ELLIOTT.
Her clothes have been worn by many celebrities including Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, Madonna, Tina Brown, Jessica Alba, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez. Google Glass made its New York Fashion Week Debut at the designer's Spring 2013 fashion show.
In 2018, the brand banned mohair use after a PETA exposé showed workers mutilating and killing goats to obtain it. All fur, angora and exotic skins were also banned from future collections.