One of the most influential, admired, and innovative women of our time: fashion designer, who has built a fashion empire, serves as the president of the CFDA and became the first designer to send models down the catwalk wearing Google Glasses, a philanthropist, wife, mother, and grandmother, Diane von Furstenberg offers a book about becoming the woman she wanted to be – a chronicle of her story as a young girl in Europe to a jet-set princess to a fashion tycoon — or as she likes to call it “tycooness.”
Diane von Furstenberg started out with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be—in her words, “the kind of woman who is independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.” She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a global brand and a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family and maintaining “my children are my greatest creation.”
In “The Woman I Wanted to Be”, Belgian-born von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life—from childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for an entire generation of women. With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women, writing:
“I want every woman to know that she can be the woman she wants to be. I started my adult life at 22, married a prince, had two children by the time I was 24, and a successful financial life by 30. Looking back, I realize I was pretty in my late 20s, but I didn’t really think so. I knew how to enhance what I had, highlighting my eyes and cheekbones, playing with my hair and my legs, and acting with confidence. I knew I was seductive, but I never thought I was beautiful.
My 30s were my best years. I was still young but felt grown-up, lived an adventurous life, raised my children, and ran a business. The 40s were harder. My children went off to boarding school and college; I sold my business. I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. I started to question my own style.
Things got better when I hit 50. I went back to work, creating a new studio environment and repositioning my brand. I was again the woman I wanted to be . . . engaged and engaging. I married my longtime love Barry Diller and became a grandmother. I embraced my age and my life. It was the beginning of the age of fulfillment, which continues today. Now, in my 60s, I know I have less time ahead and want to enjoy as much as possible.
I’m grateful I never thought of myself as beautiful when I was young. We all fade somewhat as time goes on. Women who rely only on their beauty can feel invisible later in life. It’s sad, for I feel in the latter part of your life you should feel fulfilled, not defeated”, we read in her book.