Diane von Furstenberg: 'Every Decade Has Been Exciting'

  Diane at her desk. Photo: T. Whiteside, DVF Archives

Diane at her desk. Photo: T. Whiteside, DVF Archives

I remember devouring Diane von Furstenberg’s book The Woman I Wanted to Be in 2014 when it first came out. Sat outside at Cafe Gitane, not far from the DVF headquarters in the Meatpacking District, I leafed through the pages, looking for guidance on mainly my fashion career. But I found much more: the wisdom of a wholly complete woman, full of spiritual lessons that are pretty much the answer to any problem you got, such as ‘Fear is not an option’. Fast-forward four years, and like many other spiritual devotees, Carmen and I have talked a lot about fear, and how it always leads to the wrong decision unless you break out of it. Also, fast-forward four years, and I had the privilege to sit down with Diane herself to find out more about her fascinating journey, the fearless DVF woman we all want to be, and the future of the brand.

In your book you talk about fear a lot and overcoming fear, can fashion help women overcome fears and insecurities?

It’s not the fashion that drives it, it’s knowing that that fear is not an option, and once you own that, it shows outwardly in everything from clothing choice, but also body language.

Is the DVF brand committed to sustainable practices? 
It is a new chapter for DVF with our new CEO Sandra Campos. We are certainly looking at respecting and improving sustainable practices. There is so much innovation to adopt. 

 Diane von Furstenberg SS19 presented at DVF HQ in the Meatpacking District during New York Fashion Week.

Diane von Furstenberg SS19 presented at DVF HQ in the Meatpacking District during New York Fashion Week.

Where do you envision the brand in 5 years time?
This is ‘legacy time’ as now a whole new generation of women are looking into the heritage of the brand with excitement. It is all in the hands of Sandra and the young team that she is putting together. It is very interesting to me to see what the young girls find exciting in the archives.

What was your favourite decade? Why? 
Every decade has been exciting. The 70s of course were so exciting...I was so young, everything looked possible and I lived a true American Dream. In the late 90s I started again as I discovered that young hip girls were buying vintage DVF. It seems that this is repeating again as we are moving the company into the digital world.

  Diane in the Seventies. Photo: Ara Gallant (1976)

Diane in the Seventies. Photo: Ara Gallant (1976)

What do you believe that most people disbelieve?
I believe in total honesty. What is important is that DVF stays on-brand and does not try to be something it’s not. DVF woman is a woman In Charge. DVF the brand will give her the tools for her to be “the woman she wants to be”.


“Fashion is the air of time...it is mysterious...yet part of everything we do.”


What do you find special about prints? Do you feel that women feel different in prints vs solids? 
I started in a printing mill in Como when I was 20. It was an amazing experience although I did not realize at the time how useful it would be. Prints and designing prints have been a major part of my work. I have many secrets, but I would need a whole book to explain it.

In an interview with Oprah you have said "So many mornings I wake up and I feel like a loser, and I ask other people who are successful, "Do you ever feel like a loser?" and they say yeah." Why do you think so many of us suffer from this impostor syndrome, and what is the antidote?

We all feel that sometimes. The best thing to do then is to say the following Balzac quote to yourself: “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubts.”

What are your thoughts on the psychology of fashion? Can clothes help shape our identity and shift our mindset? 

Fashion is the air of time...it is mysterious...yet part of everything we do.