When I started reading Diane von Furstenberg’s book The Woman I Wanted to Be, I was curious to learn the story behind DVF’s signature jersey dress. What I didn’t realize is that her book is more that just a memoir. It is a philosophical work that can assist women to re-gain their self-confidence.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I knew the woman I wanted to become,” this DVF motto that is consistent throughout the book. From the launch of her first dress collection to the opening speech of DVF 40th Anniversary dress exhibition, Diane Von Furstenberg had doubts about who she was and where she was going. What didn’t change was her unstoppable desire to succeed and become an independent woman.
At the beginning of the book, DVF narrates a tragic story of her family. Her mother, one of the rare Nazi camp survivors, became the biggest inspiration for the young Diane. Knowing what her mother went through, she grew up independent and passionate girl. Reading about Diane’s romances, I felt like she tried to compensate for the lack of affection that her mother couldn’t give her due to traumatic years of incarceration. I also concluded that her romantic affairs and the fact that she was always on her own helped her to grow up faster and become more independent.
Prior to reading this book, I didn’t know that Diane von Furstenberg is a princess. She obtained her title after marrying a German prince Egon von Furstenberg. Together, they became the most popular party couple in New York. As she confesses in the book, many people were curious about the life of a newly acclaimed princess and were interested in trying her dresses. In other words, DVF early recognized the importance of creating buzz around her persona and used in extensively later in life.
Another interesting detail that I learned about DVF is that she was famous in the U.S. because of her makeup and perfume collection. As it turned out, glossy magazines were excited about Diane’s collection of bright eye shadows and lipsticks, while her perfume Tatiana (named in honor of her daughter) stayed popular for almost a decade. In her book, Diane also says that she never used the help of plastic surgeons, while she has been religiously getting facials every week. I think that it is truly amazing how Diane looks considering her age (she is in her 60s). Perhaps, I will keep in mind her recommendations about yoga and regular face massages…
When I am reading memoirs of famous business people, I often recall the calculation made by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers” where he says that in order to succeed a person should spend at least 10,000 hours working on their skill. In the case with Diane von Furstenberg, this estimation seemed to work. After the buzz that she gained in her early 20s, Diane truly reinvented the brand that she has been working on her entire life only in her 60s. Today her globally branded business leads the family of an inspiring designer that incorporates a couple of dozen stores all over the world, a TV show, and multiples lines of clothes and accessories. Looking at DVF’s accomplishments, I have concluded that Diane really did become a woman she always wanted to be. Dedicated, life loving, and successful.
P.S. – I would like you to read DVF’s memoir too. If you want to receive a hard copy of The Woman I Wanted To Be by Diane von Furstenberg, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below and answer the following question: “Who is your female role model? In other words, who is the woman you want to be?”