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5 Life Lessons From Diane von Furstenberg

5 Life Lessons From Diane von Furstenberg

After more than 40 years in the business, there's a lot to be learned from Diane von Furstenberg's missteps and victories, her heady Studio 54 days, and her current life as one of the business’ most well-regarded grande dames.

These are the subjects of "Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped," the recent biography penned by Gioia Diliberto, with cooperation from DVF herself and friends and family to boot. It's candid about both von Furstenberg's career (the boom of the wrap dress left her label near bankruptcy) and personal life (her well-documented bisexuality) in a way that the designer's memoirs are not. But as Diliberto tells it: "The most shocking things she told me herself."

Ahead of the designer's Spring '16 runway show today, we caught up with Diliberto for five life-lesson takeaways from the book.

1. Overnight success comes with very real perils
"The wrap dress exploded; there was just such a huge demand. She was rushing to keep up and never stopped to think that it can't go on forever. Then at a certain point, everyone, myself included, had three wrap dresses in our closets and we didn’t need another one!"

2. Make sure you've got your own back and a back-up plan — even if you're married to a prince
"I think that [Diane's] feminism is very deep and very strong. It’s one of her informing characteristics, even when she was being written about as a socialite, and she was a young, beautiful, glamorous princess, living this very high life in Manhattan. Egon [von Furstenberg], I suspect, was held on a tight purse string. At one point, Diane asked her partner to lend Egon some money, because he had been going through cash so quickly. She really wanted to be financially independent and not depend on Egon's allowance. At a certain point they were no longer together and she was a single mother living a lifestyle that required a lot of money, and so she had to make money. She did make a lot of money, and she spent a lot of money."

3. Young designers, take note
"[She teaches us] that you can have a long career. Fashion is all about what's new and what’s hot. It's a young woman's game, to a certain extent. I think that it would be pretty much impossible to start your career when you're Diane's age, but I think she's shown that you can reinvent yourself and develop a brand over time."

4. Own your game
"I was surprised by how many people she had slept with, and that's something she was proud of. I think coming of age in the '70s had something to do with it. Everybody was everything in those days. Sexiness was the heat that was flowing through her style, and it was reflected in her life."

5. Chin up
"Nora Ephron always said, 'Be the heroine of your life, not the victim.' We only have one life, and make the most of it. Don't wallow in negativity. For me, Diane exemplifies that."

More From Vogue:
• DVF's Dinner, An Elegant Soiree for Edun, Prabal Gurung’s Post-Show Dinner, and Tome's Big Bash
When You're Diane von Furstenberg, Sometimes the Best Beauty Muse Is Yourself 
• 10 Things to Know About Diane von Furstenberg’s Spring 2016 Show
Diane von Furstenberg 

Photo Credit: Gino Depinto, Aol