Diane von Fürstenberg

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Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009.jpg
von Fürstenberg in September 2009
Diane Simone Michelle Halfin

(1946-12-31) 31 December 1946 (age 73)
Brussels, Belgium
OccupationFashion designer
(m. 1969; div. 1983)

(m. 2001)
Alma materUniversity of Geneva

Diane von Fürstenberg (born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin; 31 December 1946),[1] is a Belgian fashion designer best known for her wrap dress.[2][3][4][5] 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 1972 and divorce in 1983, she has continued to use his family name.

Her fashion company, Diane von Furstenberg (DVF)[6] is available in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide,[7] with the company's headquarters and flagship boutique located in Manhattan's Meatpacking District.[8]

She is the past Chairwoman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a position she held from 2006 to 2019 ;[3] in 2014 was listed as the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes;[9] and in 2015 was included in the Time 100, as an Icon, by Time Magazine.[10] In 2016, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from The New School.[11] In 2019, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[12]

Early years[edit]

Fürstenberg was born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium to Jewish parents.[13] Her father, Bessarabian-born Leon (Lipa) Halfin, migrated to Belgium in 1929 from Chişinău.[14] Her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, a Holocaust survivor.[15][16] 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".[17]

Fürstenberg attended a boarding school in Oxfordshire.[18] She studied at Madrid University before transferring to the University of Geneva to study economics.[19] She then moved to Paris and worked as an assistant to fashion photographer's agent Albert Koski.[3] She left Paris for Italy to apprentice to the textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti in his factory, where she learned about cut, color and fabric.[3] It was here that she designed and produced her first silk jersey dresses.

Career and brand[edit]

Diane von Fürstenberg during 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."<ref="Maynard1977"/> After the Fürstenbergs separated in 1973, Egon also became a fashion designer.[20][21] 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.[3]

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.[2][6][22][23] After the success of the wrap dress, Furstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976.[24][25] The accompanying article declared her "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel."[26] She launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, "Tatiana", named after her daughter.[26] The New York Times reported that by 1979 the annual retail sales for the company were $150 million.[3]

In 1985, Fürstenberg moved to Paris, France where she founded Salvy, a French-language publishing house.[3] 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.[26] 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.[3] 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.[3]

In 2009, Michelle Obama wore the DVF signature Chain Link print wrap dress on the official White House Christmas card.[27] 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.[28]

In 2010, Fürstenberg was awarded a Gold Medal at the annual Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala.[29] In 2011, DVF introduced a home collection, and a signature fragrance, DIANE.[30]

In 2012, Fürstenberg launched her first children’s collection with GapKids [31] and a denim collaboration with CURRENT/ELLIOTT.[32]

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.[33] Google Glass made its New York Fashion Week Debut at the designer's Spring 2013 fashion show.[34]

In 2014, Fürstenberg joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls.[35][36][37]

In 2018, the brand banned mohair use after a PETA exposé showed workers mutilating and killing goats to obtain it.[38] All fur, angora and exotic skins were also banned from future collections.[39]


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.[40] The foundation supports The DVF Awards, presented annually to four women who display leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to women's causes.[41] In 2011, the foundation made a $20 million commitment to the High Line.[42]

Fürstenberg sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization,[43] 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,[44] which was prepared by NYCEDC.

In 2016, Fürstenberg designed shirts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.[45][46]

Pop culture[edit]

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.[47]

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 Furstenberg.[48][49] It returned for a second season.[50]

Personal life[edit]

Diane 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, 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,[23] the couple had two children, Alexander[51] 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.[52][better source needed] However, she lost any claim to the title following their separation in 1972 and divorce in 1983.[53][54]

In 2001, she married American media mogul Barry Diller.[51]

On 28 February 2020, Fürstenberg was made a Chevalier de la Legion 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.[55]

Details of her ancestry were included in an episode of the PBS show Finding Your Roots. [56]

Published works[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ "December 31, 1946: Diane von Fürstenberg, Designer of the Wrap Dress, Was Born". Lifetime. Archived from the original on 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Diane von Furstenberg RTW Fall 2014". WWD. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Diane von Furstenberg". Vogue. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg | Belgian-born American fashion designer and businesswoman". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  5. ^ von Furstenberg, Diane (2013). Diane: A Signature Life. Simon and Schuster.
  6. ^ a b Schneier, Matthew. "Diane von Furstenberg". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  7. ^ Jess Cartner-Morley, Diane von Furstenberg: "I danced at Studio 54. Now I work with Google", theguardian.com, 1 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg". Meatpacking district. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  9. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  10. ^ "How We Pick the TIME 100". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ National Women's Hall of Fame, Diane von Fürstenberg
  13. ^ "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 31–40". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Interview with Diane von Furstenberg". Forward. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  15. ^ Kuczynski, Alex (1 November 2012). "Diane von Furstenberg". WMagazine.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  16. ^ "Diane Von Furstenberg – MAKERS PROFILE". Makers: Women Who Make America. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg on Her Work". Ujafedny. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  18. ^ "My London: Diane Von Furstenberg". Evening Standard. 21 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg profile". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  20. ^ Wohlfert-Wihlborg, Lee (21 December 1981). "The Original Von Furstenberg, Egon, Wakes Up to His Own Potential". PEOPLE.com. 16 (25). Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  21. ^ Rourke, Mary (12 June 2004). "Egon von Furstenberg, 57; Gave Up Banking Career for Fashion Design". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Madonna's New Video "Turn Up the Radio"". In Style. Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  23. ^ a b Amanda Christine Miller,"Diane von Furstenberg On Wrap Dresses And The Joys Of Aging Gracefully", HuffingtonPost.com, 28 March 2008.
  24. ^ "The Iconic Wrap Dress : Diane von Furstenberg", 09/21/14, vintagefashionguide.com
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ a b c "Diane Von Furstenberg – Designer Fashion Label". New York. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  27. ^ "One dress changed Diane von Furstenberg's life". CBS News. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  28. ^ Barboza, David (17 December 2010). "Diane Von Furstenberg and China: A Perfect Fit?". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Gala – Queen Sofía". Spanish Institute. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Fetes New Gap Kids Line, Set to Launch March 15". NBC New York. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  32. ^ Zalopany, Chelsea (2 February 2012). "Now Collaborating – Diane Von Furstenberg + Current/Elliot". T magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  33. ^ Moss, Hilary (8 July 2011). "Kate Middleton Wears Roksanda Ilincic, DVF & Jenny Packham In California". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  34. ^ "NY Fashion week: Diane von Furstenburg (sic)", MS fabulous, September 2012.
  35. ^ Jolie Lee (10 May 2014). "Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join 'Ban Bossy" campaign". USA Today. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  36. ^ "Facebook COO Sandberg's ludicrous crusade against bossy". New York Post. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  37. ^ "Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join prominent women in #BanBossy campaign". New York Daily News. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  38. ^ Lauretta Roberts, "Diane Von Furstenberg bans mohair after disturbing PETA exposé", The Industry, 19 July 2018.
  39. ^ Alice Newbold, "Diane Von Furstenberg To Stop Using Fur", Vogue, 4 October 2018.
  40. ^ "Directors". The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  41. ^ "Philanthropy". The DFV awards. USA: DvF. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  42. ^ "Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation Makes Historic $20M Commitment to the Future of". The High Line. 27 October 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  43. ^ "Board of Directors". Vital Voices. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  44. ^ Strauss, Steven; Sundjaja, Kristy; Gandhi, Meghana; Wong, Victor; Yoo, Jennifer (2012). Fashion.NYC.2020 (PDF). NYCEDC.
  45. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Tee". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  46. ^ Yotka, Steff. "Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Fehren Join Hillary Clinton's Made for History T-Shirt Project". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  47. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra. "Anna Wintour, 'The Fashion Fund' to Air on Cable TV". WWD. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  48. ^ "House of DVF". E! Online. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  49. ^ Zinko, Carolyne. "Diane von Furstenberg picks SF native as winner of "House of DVF" TV contest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  50. ^ Mau, Dhani. "'House of DVF' Is Coming Back For A 2nd Season". Fashionista. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  51. ^ a b Maynard, Joyce (16 February 1977). "The Princess Who is Everywhere". The New York Times.
  52. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels: Fürstliche Häuser [Genealogical Handbook of the nobility: Princely Houses] (in German), CA Starke, 1991, p. 261
  53. ^ Morris, Bernardine (18 April 1975). "Basic Dresses in Sexy Prints – and Washable". The New York Times.
  54. ^ Robinson, Katie (2 June 2017). "7 Things You Never Knew About Diane von Fürstenberg". Town & Country. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  55. ^ Phelps, Nicole (29 February 2020). "Diane von Furstenberg Receives the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur From Christine Lagarde in Paris". Vogue. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  56. ^ https://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/about/meet-our-guests/diane-von-furstenberg

External links[edit]