Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Early Lessons in Independence

Early Lessons in Independence

More From Diane

In this video

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

Diane's Biography

Cause of Choice: Vital Voices
First Paying Job: Receptionist
Her Groundbreakers: Marlene Dietrich and Mother Teresa
Fitting the First Lady: Michelle Obama, in her first holiday card from the White House, wore a re-issued print of Von Furstenberg's very first wrap dress.

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.
 

Related Videos

Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa
Director, Johnson Space Center

Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go into space when she served on a mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. After graduating with a master of science degree and...

Fu Ying
Fu Ying
Former Vice Foreign Minister of China

Fu Ying is the former Vice Foreign Minister of China, the first woman to serve in the role since 1979, and one of only two to serve in Chinese history. Born in the Inner Mongolia A...

Robyn Beavers
Robyn Beavers
Sustainability Pioneer

As a civil engineer, Robyn Beavers is determined to see more women in science and engineering, and she is certainly a role model for young girls in this industry. Beavers is the fo...

Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
First Female Justice at the U.S. Supreme Court

Sandra Day O’Connor is the daughter of ranchers—and, equally, of the land on the New Mexico-Arizona border that she and her family worked during the Great Depression. S...