MAKERS Profile

Diane von Furstenberg

Iconic Fashion Designer

In this video

Diane von Furstenberg on her breakout success, career rebirth, and embracing women's strength and femininity.
Diane Halfin, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, was just out of school and already working when she married into the House of Furstenberg in 1969. Not content to idle as Princess von Furstenberg, she later recalled, “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." She was the mother of two small children by the time the knitted jersey “wrap dress” made her a sensation in 1973. Now enshrined in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the garment was a fun, sexy, accessible item - the best of the 1970s, right off the rack. It came to symbolize power and independence for an entire generation of women.  By 1976, she had sold over a million.   Von Furstenberg was the toast of New York in those years, a perfect Warhol muse. She retreated during the 1980s, but re-emerged in thrilling form. Her creative and business lives have again flourished, but she perhaps thrives most as a good citizen. She's President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and a member of the board of Vital Voices, supporting female leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide. In 2010, with the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Diane established the DVF Awards to honor and provide grants to women who have displayed leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to their causes.  

More From Diane

Being a Woman
Thanks to her mother, von Furstenberg never felt inferior for being a woman. In fact, it was just the opposite.

Character Trumps Botox
Von Furstenberg worries about the superficial and materialist examples set in today's popular culture.

Crystallizing Your Dreams
Von Furstenberg offers her advice on the first critical step in pursuing your dreams.

Fighting For My Brand
Von Furstenberg describes her struggle to reclaim her brand and its link to her cancer.

The Core of My Job
A conversation with her granddaughter helped von Furstenberg discover what she really loves about her job. 

Early Lessons in Independence
On learning to be independent in post-war Belgium and her mother's motto on fear.

Vital Voices
Von Furstenberg talks about her work with Vital Voices and the inspiration she draws from its women.

Women's Strength
Von Furstenberg's encounters with women around the world have taught her the strength that all women possess.

Women's Leggy Advantage
Von Furstenberg argues that women shouldn't shy away from using all of their assets. 

Your Relationship with Yourself
Von Furstenberg talks about the first step in having a healthy relationship with someone else.  

An Identity Outside the Home
Von Furstenberg encourages women to keep working after having children.

Daughter of a Survivor
For her mother, a holocaust survivor, von Furstenberg's birth defied all odds.