There have been successful people in America who started off their careers as dish-washers. Diane von Furstenberg's career is a case in point: from bankruptcy to the cover page of Newsweek.
Many stories end with the girl getting her prince, but for Diane that's exactly where her story begins.
In America the princess is regarded as New York 's fashion queen, designing fashion for the woman who knows what she wants.
The legend of glamorous Diane von Fürstenberg is well chronicled over the past thirty years, during which she has made her mark on the world's fashion scene and lifestyle. Whether as a storybook princess, designer, writer, socialite or successful entrepreneur, she has become a widely recognised celebrity with extremely high consumer awareness. Her unique blend of European style and American energy have earned her a solid, long lasting reputation in an industry where fortunes rise and fall as quickly as hemlines.
Diane von Fürstenberg
I had practically no experience with needle and thread! I used my imagination and the contacts provided by my couturier husband, Prince Egon von Furstenberg. I really had a high-flying career back in 1968. In the mid 1970's I built the 'Diane Von Fürstenberg' name into a brand of apparel, beauty products and accessories. In 1972 I created the "Wrap Dress ...
Over 3 million women wore Diane von Fürstenberg's famous wrap-around dresses.
They became a cultural icon of the '70s, worn by film stars - including Candice Bergen and Cybill Shepherd -, professional women and housewives alike.
From its revolutionary early days to its current status as wardrobe staple, the wrap dress has been a symbol of feminine power and liberation to several generations of women. Legend has it that
Diane got the idea for this particular design after seeing Julie Nixon Eisenhower in one of her signature D.v.F. wrap tops with a 'von Fürstenberg' skirt. She combined the two and finally the 'wrap dress' was born. Books were written about it and from Cheryl Tiegs to 'it-girl' Paris Hilton, the wrap continues even today to appear on the world's most fashionable women.
Diane von Fürstenberg:
Business was brilliant until the fashion market became saturated in 1977. I was left sitting on dresses worth four million dollars. I was down, but not out !! I just withdrew from the fashion industry for a while.
My TV-team and I wanted to know more and visited Diane von Fürstenberg in New York and in Connecticut. The lady is sophisticated, fun, seductive. she's leading an active and full life, and, most importantly, she seems to be comfortable in her own skin. Her farmhouse is a jewel and a very private oasis. Everywhere we see sketches, colored pens, magazines, family photographs and thousands of mementoes from innumerable trips around the world.
Diana Simone Michelle Halfin, whose Belgian parents are untitled and from a middle-class background, married into the legendary German aristocracy of Fürstenberg. She was a 20-year-old beauty, educated in Spain, England and Switzerland, when she met Austro-Italian Prince Egon von Fürstenberg at the University of Geneva. He was born and raised in Lausanne (Canton de Vaud, Lake of Geneva) and had a career in banking before becoming a fashion designer. Married in 1969, they moved to New York, where son Alexandre Egon von Fürstenberg (25th of January 1970) and daughter Tatiana Desirée von Fürstenberg (16th of February 1971) were born. She became sister-in-law of Ira von Fürstenberg, a successful actress in her early years, who then became society's darling when she married Prince Alfonso von und zu Hohenlohe-Langeburg at the age of 16.
There's no doubt that Diane von Fürstenberg's new royal title and connections helped her get started in the fashion world. Through her prince, she met
Diana Vreeland, who was the editor of Vogue at the time, and designers such as Halston.
And she used her personal glamour to enhance her brand. She even began modeling her own designs.
Shortly after her quick move up the social-ladder she skyrocketed equally fast up the career ladder to become a top designer.
But Diane had her own distinctive style and talent; despite her high-society friends, she didn't design couture gowns for the elite, but instead focused on hip styles for every woman.
3 million of her famous wrap dress were sold by 1976 and Diane von Fürstenberg landed on the covers of Newsweek Magazine ("The most marketable woman in fashion since Coco Chanel") and the Wall Street Journal.
Diane von Fürstenberg:
Soon after I introduced my perfume Tatiana which was inspired by my daughter. It became really popular. Then I created a complete cosmetic line and at the same time published the "Diane von Fürstenberg's Book of Beauty". In 1977 I created a complete home furnishing line ("Style for Living"), including furniture. I was the first fashion designer to market a total home environment.
Expansion into a full world of DvF products followed, as well as numerous design, business, and civic awards. Unfortunately, the prince and princess split up in 1983 - although, as the multimillionaires stresses, they have remained friends until his sudden death on the 11th of June, 2004. Since their divorce, the attractively self-assured designer has been enjoying the single life and living up to her creative reputation. Apparently she dated Richard Gere and Ryan o' Neal - but that's just gossip. Her children now grown, Diane splits her time between her Paris apartment, the design studios in New York and her country home in Connecticut, where she celebrates her passion for life and business with a few selected friends.
Now, after years of despair and hard work, Diane is back at the top. In New York she is regarded as the designer best able to understand what women want. Today, the princess spearheads a company which has annual sales of around 150 million dollars, and not just for fashion wear. The tasteful and highly lucrative sidelines include...
Diane von Furstenberg:
... shoes, perfumes, accessories, beauty products and original gift ideas such as coffee-table books. It was my fascination for beds and their stories that inspired my first publication on VIP's beds and bedrooms. But I am constantly on the lookout for new, creative activities!
In addition to her bed book, she has brought out another glossy, coffee-table book - this time about the most beautiful bathrooms in the world.
Princess Diane von Fürstenberg has made it. Her name is synonymous with international glamour and style. Her sexy, vibrant and independent spirit is at the core of her fashion, and now 'Diane von Fürstenberg Beauty'. The cosmetics embody a hip, urban edge that is Diane’s spirit, and capture her definition of glamour - loving life, living it to the fullest, and having the confidence to be yourself. She has opened her new shop on the edge of New York's trendy meat packing district. The Shop is the definitive source for all things DvF. There are other shops in Miami, London and Paris.
It is quite remarkable that this female tycoon has not only endured — she's thrived. Since her successful come-back, Diane has become a regular on American chat shows, where she talks about her experiences, and of course she is present on all important catwalks. The woman who has never really learned how to sew properly is once again the successful fashion queen of New York - true to the motto: "If you can make it there - you'll make it any where..."
385 West 12th Street; New York, N.Y. 10014; USA
83 Ledbury Road; London W11 2AG, UK
14 Rud d'Alger; Paris 75001
If you would like to contact Princess Diane von Fürstenberg directly, please send an e-mail to
and I will forward your request to the princess personally
SPECIAL FEATURE INDEX
* This special feature "Princess Diane von Fürstenberg" has been one of more than 200 VIP-Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction of any text, photos etc needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.