Diane von Fürstenberg

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Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009.jpg
von Fürstenberg in September 2009.
Born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin
(1946-12-31) December 31, 1946 (age 69)
Brussels, Belgium
Spouse Prince Egon of Fürstenberg (m. 1969; div. 1972)
Barry Diller (m. 2001)
Issue Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg
Princess Tatiana von Fürstenberg
House Fürstenberg (by marriage)
Religion Judaism
Occupation Fashion designer

Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Princess Diane of Fürstenberg (German: Diane Prinzessin zu Fürstenberg; born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin; December 31, 1946) is a Belgian-born American fashion designer best known for her iconic wrap dress.[1][2] She initially rose to prominence when she married into the German princely House of Fürstenberg, as the wife of Prince Egon of Fürstenberg. Following their divorce in 1972, she has continued to use his family name.[citation needed]

Her fashion company, Diane von Furstenberg (DVF)[3] is a global luxury lifestyle brand available in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide,[4] with the company's headquarters and flagship boutique located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.[5]

She is president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a position she has held since 2006;[2] in 2014 was listed as the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes;[6] and in 2015 was included in the Time 100, as an Icon, by Time Magazine.[7]

Early years[edit]

Fürstenberg was born as Diane Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium, to Jewish parents.[8] Her father was Romania-born Leon (Lipa) Halfin, who had migrated to Belgium in 1929 from Chişinău.[9] Her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, a Holocaust survivor.[10] 18 months before Fürstenberg was born, her mother was a prisoner at Auschwitz concentration camp. Furstenberg has spoken broadly about her mother's influence in her life, crediting her with teaching her that "fear is not an option".[11]

Fürstenberg attended Madrid University before transferring to the University of Geneva to study economics.[12] She then moved to Paris and worked as an assistant to fashion photographer's agent, Albert Koski.[2] She left Paris for Italy to work as an apprentice to the textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti in his factory, where she learned about cut, color and fabric.[2] It was here that she designed and produced her first silk jersey dresses.

Career and brand[edit]

Diane von Furstenberg during New York Fashion Week.

A year after marrying Prince Egon, Diane von Furstenberg 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 desserts."[citation needed] Her former husband also became a fashion designer in 1974. After moving to New York, she met with 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.[2]

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.[1][3][13][14] After the phenomenal success of the wrap dress, Furstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976.[15][16] The accompanying article declared her "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel."[17] She launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, "Tatiana", named after her daughter.[17] The New York Times reported that by 1979 the annual retail sales for the company were $150 million.[2]

In 1985, she moved to Paris, France where she founded Salvy, a French-language publishing house.[2] Furstenberg started a number of other businesses including a line of cosmetics and a home-shopping business, which she launched in 1991. In 1992, Furstenberg sold 1.2 million dollars worth of her Silk Assets collection in two hours on QVC.[17] She credited this success with giving her the confidence to re-launch her company.[citation needed]

Furstenberg re-launched her company in 1997, and re-introduced the wrap dress, which gained traction with an entirely new generation of women. In 1998, she published her business memoir, Diane: A Signature Life.[2] 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 today. In 2008, she received a star on Seventh Avenue's Fashion Walk of Fame.[2]

In 2009, Michelle Obama wore the DVF signature Chain Link print wrap dress on The Official White House Christmas Card.[18] 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. The show 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.[19]

In 2010, von Furstenberg was awarded a Gold Medal at the annual Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala.[20] In 2011, DVF introduced a home collection as well as a signature fragrance, DIANE.[21]

In 2012, she launched her first children’s collection with GapKids [22] and a denim collaboration with CURRENT/ELLIOTT.[23]

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.[24] Google Glass made its New York Fashion Week Debut at the designer's Spring 2013 fashion show.[25]

In 2014, she joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls.[26][27][28]


Furstenberg is a director of The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which provides support to non-profit organizations in the area of community building, education, human rights, arts, health and the environment.[29] The foundation supports the "DVF Awards", presented annually to four women who display leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to womens' causes,[30] and in 2011, the foundation made a $20 million commitment to the High Line.[31]

Furstenberg sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization,[32] 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,[33] which was prepared by NYCEDC.

In 2016, Furstenberg designed shirts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.[34][35]

Pop culture[edit]

Furstenberg is referred to in Dolly Parton's 1981 song "Working Girl". In 2014, Ovation TV featured the The Fashion Fund, a documentary about the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. Furstenberg starred alongside Anna Wintour in the program.[36]

In 2014, the E! network aired 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 Diane von Furstenberg.[37][38] The show has since returned for a second season.[39]


Diane von Furstenberg with her second husband Barry Diller at the 2009 Metropolitan Opera premiere.

At university, when she was 18, she met Prince Egon of 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. Married in 1969,[14] the couple had two children, Prince Alexander,[40] and Princess Tatiana, who were born in New York City. She is now the grandmother of four, including Princess Talita.

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.[41] However, she lost any claim to the title following her divorce and her 2001 remarriage.[42]

In 2001, she married American media mogul Barry Diller.[40]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 31 December 1946 - 1969: Miss Diane Simone Michelle Halfin
  • 1969 - 1972: Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg
  • 1972 - 2001: Diane von Furstenberg
  • 2001–present: Diane von Furstenberg, Mrs. Diller

Published works[edit]

  • 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. 


  1. ^ a b "Diane von Furstenberg RTW Fall 2014". WWD. February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Diane von Furstenberg". Vogue. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Schneier, Matthew. "Diane von Furstenberg". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ Jess Cartner-Morley, Diane von Furstenberg: "I danced at Studio 54. Now I work with Google", theguardian.com, July 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg". Meatpacking district. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  7. ^ "How We Pick the TIME 100". Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 31–40". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Interview with Diane von Furstenberg". Forward. Retrieved September 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Diane Von Furstenberg - MAKERS PROFILE". Makers: Women Who Make America. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg on Her Work". Ujafedny. Retrieved July 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg profile". Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Madonna's New Video "Turn Up the Radio"". In Style. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Amanda Christine Miller,"Diane von Furstenberg On Wrap Dresses And The Joys Of Aging Gracefully", HuffingtonPost.com, March 28, 2008.
  15. ^ "The Iconic Wrap Dress : Diane von Furstenberg", 09/21/14, vintagefashionguide.com
  16. ^ Menkes, Suzy (December 1, 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 July 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c "Diane Von Furstenberg – Designer Fashion Label". New York. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  18. ^ "One dress changed Diane von Furstenberg's life". CBS News. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  19. ^ Barboza, David (December 17, 2010). "Diane Von Furstenberg and China: A Perfect Fit?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Gala – Queen Sofía". Spanish Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg celebrates fragrance launch with flash mob". Harper's Bazaar. UK. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Fetes New Gap Kids Line, Set to Launch March 15". NBC New York. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  23. ^ Zalopany, Chelsea (February 2, 2012). "Now Collaborating – Diane Von Furstenberg + Current/Elliot". T magazine. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  24. ^ Moss, Hilary (July 8, 2011). "Kate Middleton Wears Roksanda Ilincic, DVF & Jenny Packham In California". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  25. ^ "NY Fashion week: Diane von Furstenburg (sic)", MS fabulous, September 2012 .
  26. ^ Jolie Lee (May 10, 2014). "Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join 'Ban Bossy" campaign". USA Today. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  27. ^ "Facebook COO Sandberg's ludicrous crusade against bossy". New York Post. March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join prominent women in #BanBossy campaign". New York Daily News. March 10, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Directors". The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Philanthropy". The DFV awards. USA: DvF. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation Makes Historic $20M Commitment to the Future of". The High Line. October 27, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Board of Directors". Vital Voices. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ Strauss, Steven; Sundjaja, Kristy; Gandhi, Meghana; Wong, Victor; Yoo, Jennifer (2012). Fashion.NYC.2020 (PDF). NYCEDC. 
  34. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Tee". Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  35. ^ Yotka, Steff. "Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Fehren Join Hillary Clinton's Made for History T-Shirt Project". Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  36. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra. "Anna Wintour, 'The Fashion Fund' to Air on Cable TV". WWD. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  37. ^ "House of DVF". E! Online. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  38. ^ Zinko, Carolyne. "Diane von Furstenberg picks SF native as winner of "House of DVF" TV contest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  39. ^ Mau, Dhani. "'House of DVF' Is Coming Back For A 2nd Season". Fashionista. Retrieved June 22, 2015. 
  40. ^ a b Maynard, Joyce (February 16, 1977). "The Princess Who is Everywhere". The New York Times. 
  41. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels: Fürstliche Häuser [Genealogical Handbook of the nobility: Princely Houses] (in German), CA Starke, 1991, p. 261 
  42. ^ Morris, Bernardine (April 18, 1975). "Basic Dresses in Sexy Prints – and Washable". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]