Sunday, December 29, 2019
Biography of Diane von FÃÂ¼rstenburg, Fashion Designer
Diane von FÃ ¼rstenberg (born December 31, 1946) is a business executive andÃ fashion designer. She is most famous for her wrap dress, made out of knit jersey fabric, which was first popularized in the 1970s. FÃ ¼rstenbergs clothes have been worn by such influential figures and celebrities as Michelle Obama, Madonna, Kate Beckinsale, Susan Sarandon, and Jessica Alba. Fast Facts: Diane von FÃ ¼rstenberg Known For: FÃ ¼rstenberg designed a wrap dress that had a huge influence on womens fashion.Also Known As: Diane Prinzessin zu FÃ ¼rstenberg, Diane Halfin, Diane Simone Michelle HalfinBorn: December 31, 1946 in Brussels, BelgiumParents: Leon Halfin and Liliane NahmiasEducation: University of GenevaSpouse(s): Prince Egon von FÃ ¼rstenberg (m. 1969-1972), Barry Diller (m. 2001)Children: Prince Alexander von FÃ ¼rstenberg, Princess Tatiana DesirÃ ©e von FÃ ¼rstenbergNotable Quote: Fashion is mysterious, as a rule. Why are blue jeans a classic? You just hit on something that happens to be timeless and right. Early Life FÃ ¼rstenberg was born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium, on December 31, 1946. Her father Leon Halfin was a Moldavian emigre, and her mother Liliane Nahmias had been liberated from Auschwitz only 18 months before Dianes birth.Ã Both parents were Jewish. Education FÃ ¼rstenberg was educated in England, Spain, and Switzerland. She studied at the University of Madrid and later transferred to the University of Geneva, where her field of study was economics. After college, FÃ ¼rstenberg worked as an assistant to Albert Koshi, an agent for fashion photographers in Paris. She then moved to Italy, where she worked for textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti and designed silk jersey dresses. New York and Independence At the University of Geneva, FÃ ¼rstenberg met a German prince who was born in Switzerland, Egon zu FÃ ¼rstenberg. They married in 1969 and moved to New York, where they had a high-profile society life. The princes family did not like that FÃ ¼rstenberg was of Jewish heritage. Two children were born in quick succession: a son Alexandre in 1970, six months after the wedding, and a daughter Tatiana in 1971. In 1970, with the princes support and likely influenced by the rise of feminism, FÃ ¼rstenberg sought financial independence by opening the Diane von FÃ ¼rstenberg Studio. She designed her own prints and made easy-to-wear dresses made out of silk, cotton, and polyester knits. The Wrap Dress In 1972, FÃ ¼rstenberg designed the wrap dress that was to bring her so much recognition. The dress was made of cotton jersey fabric; Furstenbergs intent was to create something both feminine-looking and easy to care for. The iconic original dress is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (alongside famous garments by Thom Browne, Rei Kawakubo, Marc Jacobs, and other designers). FÃ ¼rstenberg has described her design as simple, effortless, and classic: The wrap dress is the most traditional form of dressing: Its like a robe, its like a kimono, its like a toga. It doesnt have buttons or zippers. What made it different was that it was jersey; therefore, it was close to the body and it was a print. The design had a huge influence on 1970s fashion; by the middle of the decade, FÃ ¼rstenberg had sold millions of dresses and made herself a household name. Divorce and Business Expansion In 1972, FÃ ¼rstenberg and her husband divorced. She lost the right to the title of Princess zu FÃ ¼rstenberg and rebranded herself as Diane von FÃ ¼rstenberg. In 1975, she created the fragrance Tatiana, named for her daughter. The fragrance sold well, and by 1976 FÃ ¼rstenberg was so well known that she appeared on the cover of Newsweek. FÃ ¼rstenberg sold her studio and licensed her name to be used on other products. In 1979, products with her name represented sales of $150 million. By 1983, however, she had closed her cosmetics and fragrance business. Comeback From 1983 to 1990, FÃ ¼rstenbergÃ lived in Bali and Paris. She founded a publishing company in Paris called Salvy, which released works in translation by authors such as Vita Sackville-West, Barbara Pym, and Gregor von Rezzori. In 1990, she returned to the United States, and the next year launched a new home shopping business, Silk Assets, which sold products on the cable channel QVC. Her first product did $1.2 million in sales in two hours. Selling on QVC was a success. In 1997, FÃ ¼rstenberg went into business with her daughter-in-law Alexandra, re-launching her eponymous company. With the revival in the 1990s of 1970s fashions, FÃ ¼rstenberg brought back the wrap dress in new prints and colors. FÃ ¼rstenberg published a memoir in 1998, Diane: A Signature Life, recounting her life story and business successes. In 2001, she married businessman Barry Diller, who had been a friend since the 1970s. FÃ ¼rstenberg also became involved in books and movies, producing Forty Shades of Blue, which won a prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. FÃ ¼rstenberg released another memoir in 2014, The Woman I Wanted to Be, which one reviewer described as an honest an introspective look into the labyrinthine history behind one of the most iconic female entrepreneurs in fashion. FÃ ¼rstenberg has also released a series of coffee table books, including Beds, a look at the intimate spaces of the rich and famous. By 2005, Diane von FÃ ¼rstenberg boutiques were in operation in New York and Miami in the United States, and in London and Paris in Europe. FÃ ¼rstenberg has served on a number of corporate boards. Her company is currently headquartered in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan. FÃ ¼rstenberg has been named one of the most powerful women in the world. Notable Clients FÃ ¼rstenbergs clients include a range of celebrities, artists, and other luminaries. former First Lady Michelle ObamaÃ¢â¬âa woman known for her taste in fashionÃ¢â¬âwore a FÃ ¼rstenberg wrap dress in 2009 for the White House Christmas card. Other major clients include Gwenyth Paltrow, Rooney Mara, Bella Thorne, Demi Moore, and Marisa Tomei. Causes FÃ ¼rstenberg has supported numerous causes, among them the Anti-Defamation League and the Holocaust Museum. She has been honored for her work in redeveloping space in New York City and for her work against AIDS. With her husband, she funds a private family foundation, The Diller-Von FÃ ¼rstenberg Family Foundation. In 2010, as part of an initiative by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, she pledged to donate half her fortune to philanthropic efforts. Sources Ferla, Ruth La. Ã¢â¬Å"The Dress Heard Round the World.Ã¢â¬ The New York Times, 15 Jan. 2014.FÃ ¼rstenberg, Diane Von. Diane: a Signature Life. Simon Schuster, 2009.MacFarquhar, Larissa. Ã¢â¬Å"The Huntress.Ã¢â¬ The New Yorker, 25 Sept. 2006.