Egon von Fürstenberg

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Egon von Fürstenberg
Prince of Fürstenberg
Egon, Sebastian and Ira von Fürstenberg 1955.jpg
Egon with younger brother Sebastian and sister Ira in 1955
Born Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg
(1946-06-29)29 June 1946
Died 11 June 2004(2004-06-11) (aged 57)
Spouse Diane Simone Michelle Halfin
Lynn Marshall
Issue Alexander von Furstenberg
Tatiana von Fürstenberg
House House of Fürstenberg
Father Prince Tassilo of Fürstenberg
Mother Clara Agnelli
Religion Roman Catholicism

Prince Egon von Fürstenberg (Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg, Prinz Egon zu Fürstenberg, 29 June 1946 – 11 June 2004) was a member of a historically important German aristocratic family (princely house, Fürstenhaus Fürstenberg). He was a socialite and husband of fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, and a Swiss fashion and interior designer in his own right. The von Fürstenbergs had two children, Prinz Alexandre Egon (b. 25 January 1970) and Prinzessin Tatiana Desirée (b. 16 February 1971), but were divorced in 1972.

Fürstenberg went on to author two books on fashion and interior design (The Power Look, 1978, and The Power Look at Home: Decorating for Men, 1980), and to open an interior design firm. He died in Rome on 11 June 2004 of liver cancer deriving from an earlier hepatitis C infection, and was survived by his children and both wives.


Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg, born 29 June 1946 in Lausanne, Switzerland, was the elder son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg (1903–1989) and his first wife, Clara Agnelli (born 1920), elder sister of Fiat's chairman, Gianni Agnelli.[citation needed] On his father's side, Egon descends from branches of family that include both Stéphanie de Beauharnais,[who?][citation needed] and the 18th-century English eccentric William Thomas Beckford.[citation needed] After Clara's departure,[clarification needed][citation needed] his father married Texas oil heiress Dr. Cecilie Amelia Hudson, née Blaffer.[citation needed]

Fürstenberg's younger brother is Prince Sebastian zu Fürstenberg,[citation needed] and his sister is socialite and actress and Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg, whose first husband was Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.[citation needed] He is first cousin of Karel Schwarzenberg, a Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The House of Fürstenberg is an ancient German family which reigned over a small principality within the Holy Roman Empire until mediatized in 1806,[citation needed] henceforth retaining their official princely status until the fall of the German Empire in 1918,[citation needed] and thereafter maintaining aristocratic eminence through continued ownership of vast estates.[citation needed] Although zu rather than von is the predicate attached to the family's princely title (denoting that the family retained possession of, not merely past or nominal association with the Fürstenberg family seat), Egon and his sister chose to use the more familiar von for career purposes.[citation needed]

Fürstenberg was married to fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg (see below).



Egon von Fürstenberg was born at Lausanne, Switzerland,[1] was baptized by Pope John XXIII, and was thereafter brought up in great privilege in Venice, Italy.[citation needed] According to his book, The Power Look, he earned a degree in economics at the University of Geneva, followed by a term in the Peace Corps and two years as an investment banker.

He married the Belgian-born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin,[1] a Jewish woman of Romanian-Greek descent and daughter of a Holocaust survivor (on her mother's side), on 16 July 1969 at Montfort-l'Amaury, Yvelines, France.[citation needed] The new Princess Diane von Fürstenberg was pregnant, and the senior Fürstenbergs objected to the couple's union for this reason, and for her Jewish heritage.[citation needed]

His wife opened her own fashion house in New York, at Egon's urging, creating a novel, eventually iconic wrap dress, a career as designer that pre-dated and arguably eclipsed Egon's.[citation needed] Fürstenberg began his career as a buyer for Macy's, taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology,[2] and Parson's School of Design.[citation needed]

The von Fürstenberg's had two children, Prinz Alexandre Egon (b. 25 January 1970) and Prinzessin Tatiana Desirée (b. 16 February 1971).[1] They were divorced[1] in 1972.[citation needed]

Furstenberg began independent work as a fashion designer in 1977,[citation needed] designing clothes for plus-size women, and later expanding to full fashion and product licensing, with ready-to-wear, fragrance, and made to measure lines based in Rome.[citation needed] Next von Furstenberg designed ready-made clothing for the masses, and an off-the-peg (ready-to-wear) line of fashion.[citation needed]

Fürstenberg wrote two top selling books:[citation needed] The Power Look (1978), a guide to fashion and good taste, and The Power Look at Home: Decorating for Men (1980), a book on home furnishings (see below). He opened an interior design firm in 1981.[clarification needed][2] In 1991 he exhibited at Alta Moda days in Rome.[citation needed]

Fürstenberg collected art, and his collection included works by Zachary Selig.[3][page needed] In 1983, Egon and Lynn Marshall (born ca. 1950), an American and a Mississippi native, were married; the couple remained childless.[citation needed]

Egon von Fürstenberg died at Spallanzani Hospital in Rome on 11 June 2004.[1]New York Post,[who?] reported Fürstenberg's widow stating that he died of liver cancer caused by a hepatitis C infection that he acquired in the 1970s.[citation needed]

Published works[edit]

Fürstenberg's published works included:[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Egon von Furstenberg, 'Prince Of High Fashion,' Dies at 57", The New York Times (New York City), 12 June 2004 
  2. ^ a b Wohlfert-Wihlborg, Lee (21 December 1981), "The Original Von Furstenberg, Egon, Wakes Up to His Own Potential", People 16 (25), retrieved 17 July 2015 
  3. ^ Joan A. Quinn, 1989, "Click: Zachary Selig honors Prince Egon von Furstenberg." The Herald Examiner, 26 January 1989.[page needed]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Rourke, 2004, "Egon von Furstenberg, 57; Gave Up Banking Career for Fashion Design," Los Angeles Times (online), 12 June 2004, see [1], accessed 14 July 2015.

External links[edit]