DIANE by Diane Von Furstenberg


A Signature Life
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Build a better dress and they will come: this is the theme of this celebrity autobiography by designer/jet setter Von Furstenberg. The daughter of a concentration camp survivor, 22-year-old Von Furstenberg was living in 1960s New York with her husband, German Prince Eduard Egon Von Furstenberg, when she introduced the dress that would make her a fashion icon and a millionaire in her own right. The wrap dress, she says, was ‘’ . . . nothing really. just a few yards of fabric with two sleeves and a wide wrap sash.” But it caught the imaginations of millions of women and even entered the Smithsonian Institution’s pop culture collection. Von Furstenberg also worked hard, crisscrossed the country promoting her line of clothing, sometimes chasing a potential customer across the selling floor to insist the matron was not “too old and too fat” to wear the dress. Although separated from her husband after less than four years of marriage, Von Furstenberg was devoted to her two children, characterizing herself as as “a single, working mother.” Unlike most single mothers, she dined and danced at the White House, becoming friends with Henry Kissinger, California’s former governor Jerry Brown, and movie mogul Barry Diller. When women’s power suits and some unfortunate business decisions led to the decline of The Dress and of the value of her name, she sold it all (very profitably) and moved to Paris with an Italian novelist. There she ran a literary salon, welcoming writers from Alberto Moravia to Bret Easton Ellis. But business was where her talent lay; she returned to New York in 1989 and found her way onto QVC, a TV shopping channel, where in four years she sold $40 million worth of her designs. She also survived a bout with cancer. Decorated by a glamorous roster of friends and acquaintances (from Andy Warhol to Queen Elizabeth II), this biography is direct and unpretentious, but essentially insubstantial—much like the wrap dress. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-84383-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1998


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