Diane Von Furstenberg: The Woman I Want to Be

Secrets of an Influential Genius

Belgian Princess turned legendary fashion designer Diane Von Fürstenberg needs almost no introduction. Since launching her eponymous brand in New York in 1972, she has revolutionized womenswear and empowered women one iconic wrap dress at a time. Glamourous and impossibly elegant, Diane, 68, is also devoted to fostering new talent, the arts and supporting women through varied initiatives. She has been Council of Fashion Designers of America’s president since 2006, released her memoir ‘The Woman I Wanted to Be’ last year and found her first global ambassador in reality TV show ‘House of DVF’. After 40 fabulous years in fashion, the designer shared the secrets to her success with us.

FashiontoMax: What most people not know about you?

DVF: I always have a camera because I seize the moment and take a lot of pictures of nature. I’m a big hiker so I hike for miles and I take pictures of bark, of a tree or leaf and very often my prints come from my photographs.

FashiontoMax: What came into your mind when you first made the wrap dress?

DVF: When I did it I didn’t think it was going to be something so big. What I liked about it was the way it takes the dress and the way it is proper and it is sexy at the same time. It’s very effortless. Every young woman looks beautiful. For generation and generation it’s always young women.  


FashiontoMax: How do you come up with a theme each season?

DVF: We design our own fabric and the colours are so important. We start with a mood and then you do colours, the prints, a mood board and then the name comes naturally. The name evolves because at the beginning Oasis [her SS14 collection] was more about Africa and over the months it became more of an oasis of peace. It became this collection of colour and joie de vivre and beauty. So a woman can create their own oasis in an urban environment.

FashiontoMax: Many designers go up and then down but you’ve managed to stay on top. Do you have any advice for designers?

DVF: The most important thing is to try and stay true to yourself. Which is not always easy. That’s what I try to do. I design clothes so that women can become the woman they want to be.

FashiontoMax: You’ve been doing this for so long, have you ever had a creative block?

DVF: It’s not like a book where you write the book, you finish and then you have to start again. When you design fashion it’s one after the other after the other. So it’s very much like cooking. You’re cooking and then with the leftovers you make another dish. 

FashiontoMax: What is your proudest moment?

DVF: My proudest moment was when my granddaughter told me that I was cool. She was nine. She said: ‘you’re my role model.’ 

If you could meet one person dead or alive who would it be and why? 
DVF: Leonardo Di Vinci because he was a Renaissance man- a scientist and an artist and so many other things.


FashiontoMax: What is your guilty pleasure? 

DVF: Dark chocolate (with a smile). 

One of your mantras, which is also Carrie Bradshaw's, is the most important relationship is one you have with yourself. Why do you think that? 

DVF: No matter what happens, you always have yourself. If you are in pain or happy you have yourself. You are yourself all your life. I’ve been my best friend for a long time so I know myself. 

FashiontoMax: Name one thing you cannot live without?

DVF: I cannot live without love.

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Text by: Felicia Pennant
Photographs: dvf.com; elle.com; elleuk.com; variety.com; fashionquanda.com; luxury-insider.com; dailymail.co.uk; marieclaire.co.uk; fashiontimes.com; fabmagazneonline.com