In this candid conversation, Diane discusses how she built her business from the ground up at a time when few women were doing so and how she overcame roadblocks to become one of the most recognizable names in fashion. She shares details of her life as a member of fashion’s elite and discusses her new book, Own It. Finally, she talks about the DVF brand, its recent financial struggles, and how she plans to ensure her brand and name endure for decades to come.
The daughter of a Holocaust survivor who married a German prince, Diane von Furstenberg’s unique version of the American Dream is both inspiring and fascinating. Diane first entered the fashion world in 1970 when she moved to New York City with a few jersey dresses she had made in Italy. Just two years later, at a time when there were very few female entrepreneurs, Diane founded the company that bears her name. In 1974 she introduced her famous wrap dress which made her a household name. After selling five million of them, Diane then became the face of women’s empowerment and liberation, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1976. By the late ‘70s Diane had sold her dress design license and in 1983 she sold the cosmetics line effectively ending her control over the DVF company name. In 1997, following a stint in Paris founding a publishing company, acting as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and entering into a creative partnership with TV sales channel QVC, Diane reacquired the licenses and re-ignited interest in her brand. After several more decades spent expanding her lifestyle business, in 2005, she was given a lifetime achievement award by the CFDA – an organization she ran for 13 years. Diane shares ownership of her global luxury brand with her husband, media billionaire Barry Diller, and her two children from her previous marriage.