Diane von Fürstenberg

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Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg Shankbone Metropolitan Opera 2009.jpg
von Fürstenberg in September 2009
BornDiane Simone Michelle Halfin
(1946-12-31) December 31, 1946 (age 72)
Brussels, Belgium
Prince Egon von Fürstenberg
(m. 1969; div. 1983)

Barry Diller
(m. 2001)
IssuePrince Alexander
Princess Tatiana
HouseFürstenberg (by marriage)
OccupationFashion designer
Alma materUniversity of Geneva

Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Princess Diane of Fürstenberg (German: Diane Prinzessin zu Fürstenberg; born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin; December 31, 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 1973 and divorce in 1983[citation needed], 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 president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), a position she has held since 2006;[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]

Early years[edit]

Fürstenberg was born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium to Jewish parents.[12] Her father, Moldovian-born Leon (Lipa) Halfin, migrated to Belgium in 1929 from Chişinău.[13] Her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, a Holocaust survivor.[14][15] 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".[16]

Fürstenberg attended a boarding school in Oxfordshire.[17] She studied at Madrid University before transferring to the University of Geneva to study economics.[18] 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 Furstenberg 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 desserts."[citation needed] After the Fürstenbergs separated in 1973, Egon also became a fashion designer.[19][20] 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", an example of which, due to its influence on women's fashion, is in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[2][6][21][22] After the success of the wrap dress, Furstenberg was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976.[23][24] The accompanying article declared her "the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel."[25] She launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, "Tatiana", named after her daughter.[25] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

In 2010, Fürstenberg was awarded a Gold Medal at the annual Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Gold Medal Gala.[28] In 2011, DVF introduced a home collection, and a signature fragrance, DIANE.[29]

In 2012, Fürstenberg launched her first children’s collection with GapKids [30] and a denim collaboration with CURRENT/ELLIOTT.[31]

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

In 2014, Fürstenberg joined the Ban Bossy campaign as a spokesperson advocating leadership roles for girls.[34][35][36]

In 2018, the brand banned mohair use after a PETA exposé showed workers mutilating and killing goats to obtain it.[37] All fur, angora and exotic skins were also banned from future collections.[38]


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

Fürstenberg sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization,[42] 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,[43] which was prepared by NYCEDC.

In 2016, Fürstenberg designed shirts for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.[44][45]

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.[46]

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.[47][48] It returned for a second season.[49]

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,[22] the couple had two children, Prince Alexander[50] and Princess Tatiana, who were born in New York City. She is now the grandmother of four, including Princess Talita.

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.[51] However, she lost any claim to the title following her divorce and 2001 remarriage.[52]

In 2001, she married American media mogul Barry Diller.[50]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 31 December 1946 – 1969: Miss Diane Simone Michelle Halfin
  • 1969–1972: Her Serene Highness Princess Diane of Fürstenberg[53]
  • 1972–2001: Diane von Fürstenberg
  • 2001–present: Diane von Fürstenberg, Mrs. Diller

Published works[edit]

  • 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. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Diane von Furstenberg RTW Fall 2014". WWD. February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Diane von Furstenberg". Vogue. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  4. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg | Belgian-born American fashion designer and businesswoman". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  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 July 17, 2012.
  7. ^ Jess Cartner-Morley, Diane von Furstenberg: "I danced at Studio 54. Now I work with Google", theguardian.com, July 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg". Meatpacking district. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  9. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  10. ^ "How We Pick the TIME 100". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  12. ^ "Top 50 most influential Jews 2013: Places 31–40". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  13. ^ "Interview with Diane von Furstenberg". Forward. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  14. ^ Kuczynski, Alex (November 1, 2012). "Diane von Furstenberg". WMagazine.com. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  15. ^ "Diane Von Furstenberg – MAKERS PROFILE". Makers: Women Who Make America. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  16. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg on Her Work". Ujafedny. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  17. ^ "My London: Diane Von Furstenberg". Evening Standard. 21 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg profile". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  19. ^ Wohlfert-Wihlborg, Lee (21 December 1981). "The Original Von Furstenberg, Egon, Wakes Up to His Own Potential". PEOPLE.com (Vol. 16 No. 25). Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ Rourke, Mary (12 June 2004). "Egon von Furstenberg, 57; Gave Up Banking Career for Fashion Design". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Madonna's New Video "Turn Up the Radio"". In Style. Archived from the original on July 15, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  22. ^ a b Amanda Christine Miller,"Diane von Furstenberg On Wrap Dresses And The Joys Of Aging Gracefully", HuffingtonPost.com, March 28, 2008.
  23. ^ "The Iconic Wrap Dress : Diane von Furstenberg", 09/21/14, vintagefashionguide.com
  24. ^ Menkes, Suzy (December 1, 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 July 17, 2012.
  25. ^ a b c "Diane Von Furstenberg – Designer Fashion Label". New York. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  26. ^ "One dress changed Diane von Furstenberg's life". CBS News. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  27. ^ Barboza, David (December 17, 2010). "Diane Von Furstenberg and China: A Perfect Fit?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  28. ^ "Gala – Queen Sofía". Spanish Institute. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  29. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg celebrates fragrance launch with flash mob". Harper's Bazaar. UK. Archived from the original on April 20, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  30. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Fetes New Gap Kids Line, Set to Launch March 15". NBC New York. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  31. ^ Zalopany, Chelsea (February 2, 2012). "Now Collaborating – Diane Von Furstenberg + Current/Elliot". T magazine. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  32. ^ Moss, Hilary (July 8, 2011). "Kate Middleton Wears Roksanda Ilincic, DVF & Jenny Packham In California". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  33. ^ "NY Fashion week: Diane von Furstenburg (sic)", MS fabulous, September 2012.
  34. ^ Jolie Lee (May 10, 2014). "Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join 'Ban Bossy" campaign". USA Today. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  35. ^ "Facebook COO Sandberg's ludicrous crusade against bossy". New York Post. March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  36. ^ "Beyoncé, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch join prominent women in #BanBossy campaign". New York Daily News. March 10, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  37. ^ Lauretta Roberts, "Diane Von Furstenberg bans mohair after disturbing PETA exposé," The Industry 19 July 2018.
  38. ^ Alice Newbold, "Diane Von Furstenberg To Stop Using Fur," Vogue, 4 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Directors". The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  40. ^ "Philanthropy". The DFV awards. USA: DvF. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  41. ^ "Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation Makes Historic $20M Commitment to the Future of". The High Line. October 27, 2011. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  42. ^ "Board of Directors". Vital Voices. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  43. ^ Strauss, Steven; Sundjaja, Kristy; Gandhi, Meghana; Wong, Victor; Yoo, Jennifer (2012). Fashion.NYC.2020 (PDF). NYCEDC.
  44. ^ "Diane von Furstenberg Tee". Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  45. ^ Yotka, Steff. "Diane von Furstenberg and Eva Fehren Join Hillary Clinton's Made for History T-Shirt Project". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  46. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra. "Anna Wintour, 'The Fashion Fund' to Air on Cable TV". WWD. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  47. ^ "House of DVF". E! Online. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  48. ^ Zinko, Carolyne. "Diane von Furstenberg picks SF native as winner of "House of DVF" TV contest". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  49. ^ Mau, Dhani. "'House of DVF' Is Coming Back For A 2nd Season". Fashionista. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  50. ^ a b Maynard, Joyce (February 16, 1977). "The Princess Who is Everywhere". The New York Times.
  51. ^ Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels: Fürstliche Häuser [Genealogical Handbook of the nobility: Princely Houses] (in German), CA Starke, 1991, p. 261
  52. ^ Morris, Bernardine (April 18, 1975). "Basic Dresses in Sexy Prints – and Washable". The New York Times.
  53. ^ Green, David B. (31 December 2015). "This Day in Jewish HIstory 1946: An Ex-serene Highness and Fashion Guru Is Born" – via Haaretz.

External links[edit]