Monday, July 22 2019


Reniassance Women

Diane von Furstenberg
She served as an inspiration to Andy Warhol, was a raiding queen of the seventies and casts a spell with her allure even today. Diane von Furstenberg unveils her feminist side to Riddhima Nagpal.
Her sartorial, inimitable personality makes Diane von Furstenberg the ultimate design diva. Von Furstenberg became an overnight success with her cult jersey ‘wrap’ dresses back in the seventies, when she was part of the Studio 54 and Park Avenue crowd. With time she grew and in a span of 30 years she touched the sky and saw a decline, only to rise to power again and become the proud owner of the multimillion-dollar fashion empire it is today. “I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be – independent,” Von Furstenberg says. “And as I went on the road with my creations, and met women and struck up relationships with them, I realised I had become the woman I wanted to be, by helping other women become who they want to be.”
During her recent visit to India at the two-day Mint Luxury Conference, the 66-year-old designer shed all layers to unveil her feminist side. “The industry does objectify women and I don’t like that at all. But fashion is also fun. It’s fun for a woman to wake up and decide what to wear. I consider myself a feminist because it’s my mission in life to empower women,” she voices strongly.
The former wife of Prince Eduard Egon von und zu Fürstenberg, Diane started her business with a yearning for independence. She married him in July 1969 and the couple later moved to America. Together they became part of media frenzy for their exotic lifestyle, socialising with everyone from Salvador Dali to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Though the two parted ways in 1972, she still continued to use the title in her name. In 1975, she launched her fragrance Tatiana, named after her daughter and partnered with Sears to create the Diane von Furstenberg Style for Living Collection. It was in the late nineties that Von Furstenberg noticed that her daughter and her friends were wearing vintage versions of the wrap dress and so decided to reintroduce it. “I re-emerged in 1997 after a long hiatus. I had always said that I had three children – my son, my daughter and my brand. I even suffered from cancer of the tongue and I think it’s because I wasn’t allowed to express myself. I had to express myself. I am a survivor,” she says.
The wrap dress came to be seen as a symbol of women’s liberation in the seventies. Due to its influence on women’s fashion, it is even part of the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Von Furstenberg has also been a forerunner when it comes to eco-fashion. Using all things ‘eco-ganic’, she has participated in Future Fashion shows to do her bit to promote recycling. Together with her current husband, American media mogul Barry Diller whom she married in 2001, she speaks out about various causes. As president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America – a role she has held since July 2006 – Von Furstenberg has spoken out on the two most controversial issues facing the fashion industry: the prevalence of underweight models and the under-representation of those from different racial backgrounds. Walking her own talk, she includes more black models in her shows than most designers. Her social commitment is not hidden behind the curtains either; she is the director of The Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, that provides support to non-profit organisations. She is also on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organisation that empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs.
So what makes this diva, designer, mother, spokesperson, fund-raiser and purveyor of off-the-peg-feminism tick? Definitely the attitude!
Furstenberg with the Sachdeva sisters at Mint
Luxury Conference.
Furstenberg with DVF creative director Yvan Mispelaere.

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