High-fashion doyenne von Furstenberg (Diane: A Signature Life, 1998) celebrates a wellspring of wisdom and design inspiration.
Addressing the core factors that made her who she is today, von Furstenberg, 67, shares how her familial roots, love life, celebrity and entrepreneurialism all played a part in molding her psyche. Greatly indebted to and influenced by her mother, a Nazi concentration camp survivor, the Belgium-born designer fondly describes her solitary childhood roots growing up in Brussels instilled with the initiative to explore, be free and exercise self-reliance. Her thoughts on love and those who influenced her middle years (especially marriages to Prince Eduard Egon and Barry Diller) reads like a sweeping romance novel, thanks in part to the men themselves but more due to von Furstenberg’s penchant for dramatic, lavishly embellished prose. A bout with cancer in the mid-1990s perhaps enhanced her appreciation for a homeopathic lifestyle and a passion for nature, rearing her children and the experience of grandparenting. She also shares thoughts on youth, beauty, aging and the many rewarding moments throughout her decades in fashion merchandising. Von Furstenberg’s global luxury-lifestyle empire’s multitiered ascent, borne from the design of the iconic and timeless wrap dress, has crested somewhat, requiring a more recent rebranding and reidentification. In the final section, she braces herself for the compounded challenge of restoring her brand’s luster and reigniting interest in DVF, including a comeback runway show featuring Google Glass. Though much of her autobiographical material can be found in her debut memoir, the fashionista digs deeper this time, swapping pages of name-dropping for introspective insights and sage advice, all while keeping her saga compelling and spicy.
With humility and honesty, von Furstenberg’s reflections on a life lived in the grandiose couture spotlight will delight both trendy, fashion-forward readers and budding designers eager to follow in her footsteps.