Diane von Fürstenberg

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Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg 2012 Shankbone.JPG
von Fürstenberg in 2012
Diane Simone Michele Halfin[1]

(1946-12-31) 31 December 1946 (age 74)
Brussels, Belgium
OccupationFashion designer
(m. 1969; div. 1983)

(m. 2001)
Alma materUniversity of Geneva

Diane von Fürstenberg (born Diane Simone Michele Halfin, 31 December 1946)[2] is a Belgian fashion designer best known for her wrap dress.[3][4][5][6] She initially rose to prominence in 1969 when she married into the princely German House of Fürstenberg, as the wife of Prince Egon von Fürstenberg. Following their separation in 1972 and divorce in 1983, she has continued to use his family name.

Her fashion company, Diane von Furstenberg (DvF),[7] is available in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide,[8] with the company's headquarters and flagship boutique located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.[9]

She is the past chairwoman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a position she held from 2006 to 2019 ;[4] in 2014 was listed as the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes;[10] and in 2015 was included in the Time 100, as an icon, by Time magazine.[11] In 2016, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the New School.[12] In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[13]

Early years[]

Fürstenberg was born Diane Simone Michele Halfin in Brussels, Belgium, to Jewish parents.[14] Her father, Bessarabian-born Leon (Lipa) Halfin, migrated to Belgium in 1929 from Chişinău, and later sought refuge from the Nazis in Switzerland.[15][1] Her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, from Thessaloniki, a Holocaust survivor, who was initially captured by the Nazis while she was a member of the Resistance during World War II.[16][17][1] 18 months before Fürstenberg was born, her mother 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."[18]

Fürstenberg attended a boarding school in Oxfordshire.[19] She studied at Madrid University before transferring to the University of Geneva to study economics.[20] She then moved to Paris and worked as an assistant to fashion photographer's agent Albert Koski.[4] She left Paris for Italy to apprentice to the textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti in his factory, where she learned about cut, color and fabric.[4] It was here that she designed and produced her first silk jersey dresses.

Career and brand[]

A woman with wavy and curly hair wearing a white dress with multi-colored stripes smiles on a fashion runway
von Fürstenberg at the 2008 New York Fashion Week

A year after marrying, Fürstenberg began designing women's clothes: "The minute I knew I was about to be Egon's wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her deserts."[21] After the Fürstenbergs separated in 1973, Egon also became a fashion designer.[22][23] 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.[4]

In 1974, she introduced the knitted jersey "wrap dress", which became an iconic piece in women's fashion; it is included in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[3][7][24][25] After the success of the wrap dress, Fürstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976.[26][27] The accompanying article declared her "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel."[28] She launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, "Tatiana", named after her daughter.[28] The New York Times reported that by 1979 the annual retail sales for the company were $150 million (equivalent to $535 million in 2020).[4]

In 1985, Fürstenberg moved to Paris, France, where she founded Salvy, a French-language publishing house.[4] 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 (equivalent to $2.2 million in 2020) of her Silk Assets collection in two hours on QVC.[28] She credits the success with giving her the confidence to relaunch her company.[citation needed]

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.[4] In 2004, she 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.[4]

First Lady Michelle Obama wearing a Diane von Fürstenberg wrap dress

In 2009, Michelle Obama wore the DVF signature Chain Link print wrap dress on the official White House Christmas card.[29] 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.[30]

In 2010, Fürstenberg was awarded a gold medal at the annual Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala.[31] In 2011, DVF introduced a home collection, and a signature fragrance, Diane.[32]

In 2012, Fürstenberg launched her first children's collection with GapKids[33] and a denim collaboration with Current/Elliott.[34]

Her clothes have been worn by many celebrities including Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale, Madonna, Tina Brown, Jessica Alba, Susan Sarandon, Priyanka Chopra, Jennifer Lopez and Whitney Houston.[35] Google Glass made its New York Fashion Week Debut at the designer's Spring 2013 fashion show.[36]

In 2014, Fürstenberg joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls.[37][38][39]

In 2018, the brand banned mohair use after a PETA exposé showed workers mutilating and killing goats to obtain it.[40] All fur, angora and exotic skins were also banned from future collections.[41]


Fürstenberg is a director of the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which provides support to nonprofit organizations in the area of community building, education, human rights, arts, health and the environment.[42] In 2010, the foundation created The DVF Awards, presented annually to four women who display leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to women's causes.[43] In 2011, the foundation made a $20 million commitment to the High Line.[44]

Fürstenberg sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women's leadership organization,[45] and served as one of the project chairs for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's review of the future of NYC's Fashion industry, prepared by New York City Economic Development Corporation.[46]

In 2016, Fürstenberg designed shirts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.[47][48]

In 2019, Fürstenberg launched #InCharge podcast, exclusively on Spotify, with a goal of empowerment for women. Podcast guests were Kris Jenner, Elaine Welteroth, Karlie Kloss, Priyanka Chopra and Martine Rothblatt, Teo Wan Lin,[49] among others.[50]

In popular culture[]

In 2014, Ovation TV featured The Fashion Fund, a documentary about the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. Fürstenberg starred alongside Anna Wintour in the program.[51]

In November 2014, the E! network started airing the first season of reality show House of DVF. Contestants on the show performed various tasks and challenges in the hopes of becoming a global brand ambassador for Fürstenberg.[52][53] In September 2015, it returned for a second (final) season.[54]

Personal life[]

A woman with wavy and curly hair wearing a white dress lined with a teal fabric smiles as she looks to her right while standing next to a man wearing a tuxedo
von Fürstenberg with her second husband Barry Diller at the 2009 Metropolitan Opera premiere

At university, when she was 18, she met Prince Egon von Fürstenberg, the elder son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg (1903-1987), a German Roman Catholic prince, and his first wife, Clara Agnelli, an heiress to the Fiat automotive fortune and member of the Italian nobility. Married in 1969,[25] the couple had two children, Alexander[21] and Tatiana, who were born in New York City. She is now the grandmother of five, including Talita von Fürstenberg.

The Fürstenbergs' marriage, although unpopular with the groom's family because of the bride's Jewish ethnicity, was considered dynastic, and on her marriage she became Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg.[55] However, she lost any claim to the title following their separation in 1972 and divorce in 1983.[56][57]

In 2001, she married American media mogul Barry Diller.[21]

On 28 February 2020, Fürstenberg was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for her contributions to fashion, women's leadership, and philanthropy. She was presented the award by Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, in a ceremony at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs headquarters on the Quai d'Orsay.[58]

Details of her ancestry were included in the episode "Fashion's Roots" (season 6, 13 October 2020), of the PBS series Finding Your Roots.[59]

Published works[]

  • Furstenberg, Diane von (1976). Diane Von Furstenberg's Book of Beauty: How to Become a More Attractive, Confident, and Sensual Woman. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0671219048.
  • Furstenberg, Diane von (1998). Diane: A Signature Life. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0684843834.
  • Furstenberg, Diane von (2014). The Woman I Wanted to Be. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1451651546.
  • Furstenberg, Diane von (2021). Own It: The Secret to Life. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-1838662325.


  1. ^ a b c Stated on Finding Your Roots, October 13, 2020
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  3. ^ a b "Diane von Furstenberg RTW Fall 2014". WWD. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
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  7. ^ a b Rosenbloom, Stephanie (18 July 2009). "Tightening Belts? She's the Expert (Published 2009)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
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  10. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Archived from the original on 22 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  11. ^ "How We Pick the Time 100". Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
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  13. ^ National Women's Hall of Fame, Diane von Fürstenberg
  14. ^ "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 31–40". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  15. ^ von Fürstenberg, Diane (15 August 2005). "Honoring My cousin's Courage". The Forward. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
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  17. ^ "Diane Von Furstenberg – MAKERS PROFILE". Makers: Women Who Make America. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
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  20. ^ Sowray, Bibby (5 April 2012). "Diane von Furstenberg". Vogue. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
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  27. ^ Menkes, Suzy (1 December 1998). "The Charmed Lives and Free Spirit of Diane Von Furstenberg: It's a Wrap: The Image of an Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  28. ^ a b c "Diane Von Furstenberg – Designer Fashion Label". New York. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  29. ^ "One dress changed Diane von Furstenberg's life". CBS News. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  30. ^ Barboza, David (17 December 2010). "Diane Von Furstenberg and China: A Perfect Fit?". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  31. ^ "Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala". Queen Sofía Spanish Institute (Press release). 19 November 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  32. ^ Cunningham, Isla (7 October 2011). "Diane von Furstenberg celebrates fragrance launch with flash mob". Harper's Bazaar UK. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Fetes New Gap Kids Line, Set to Launch March 15". NBC New York. Archived from the original on 12 December 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  34. ^ Zalopany, Chelsea (2 February 2012). "Now Collaborating – Diane Von Furstenberg + Current/Elliot". T. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  35. ^ Moss, Hilary (8 July 2011). "Kate Middleton Wears Roksanda Ilincic, DVF & Jenny Packham In California". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  36. ^ Leung, Mariana (13 September 2012). "NY Fashion week: Diane von Furstenburg". Ms. FABulous..
  37. ^ Lee, Jolie (10 May 2014). "Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join 'Ban Bossy" campaign". USA Today. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  38. ^ Peyser, Andrea (17 March 2014). "Facebook COO Sandberg's ludicrous crusade against bossy". New York Post. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  39. ^ Monde, Chiderah (10 March 2014). "Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join prominent women in #BanBossy campaign". New York Daily News. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  40. ^ Roberts, Lauretta (19 July 2018). "Diane Von Furstenberg bans mohair after disturbing PETA exposé". TheIndustry.fashion.
  41. ^ Newbold, Alice (1 October 2018). "Diane Von Furstenberg To Stop Using Fur". British Vogue.
  42. ^ "Directors". The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  43. ^ "Philanthropy: About The DVF Awards". DvF. Retrieved 21 December 2020. The DVF Awards were founded in 2010
  44. ^ Friends of the High Line (27 October 2011). "Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation Makes Historic $20M Commitment to the Future of the High Line". High Line. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  45. ^ "Board of Directors". Vital Voices. 19 April 2012. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
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  48. ^ Yotka, Steff (5 May 2016). "Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Fehren Join Hillary Clinton's Made for History T-Shirt Project". Vogue. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  49. ^ MU/SE x Diane von Furstenberg Specijal - Dr Teo Wan Lin. Muse Magazine. 30 January 2020 [2020]. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021.
  50. ^ Robinson, Cheryl. "Diane Von Furstenberg Launches InCharge Podcast Exclusively On Spotify To Inspire Women". Forbes. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
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  54. ^ Mau, Dhani (15 January 2015). "'House of DVF' Is Coming Back For A 2nd Season". Fashionista. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  55. ^ von Ehrenkrook, Hans Friedrich; von Hueck, Walter; Franke, Christoph (1991). Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels: 100 Fürstliche Häuser [Genealogical Handbook of the nobility: 100 Princely Houses] (in German). 14. CA Starke. p. 261. ISBN 978-379-8007-000. OCLC 163521699.
  56. ^ Morris, Bernardine (18 April 1975). "Basic Dresses in Sexy Prints – and Washable". The New York Times. p. 52.
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  59. ^ Gates, Henry Louis Jr. (13 October 2020). "Meet Our Guests: Diane von Furstenberg (Season 6, Episode 11: Fashion's Roots)". WETA-TV.

External links[]

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