On a recent evening in Miami Beach, torrential rain and winds could not keep the formidable Diane von Furstenberg from her adoring public. Hundreds of DVF fans lined the aisles at Books & Books in Bal Harbour, FL. to catch a glimpse of the style icon, seize the opportunity for a photo op, or obtain a personally signed copy of her newest book, The Woman I Wanted To Be.
She is the woman she has wanted to be and a beacon of light to many others. She recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of her wrap dress with an exhibition in Los Angeles, California. Diane von Furstenberg is the fairy godmother of fashion, and her story reads like a fairytale: the European princess who has lived the American dream.
Focused and solution–oriented, Von Furstenberg has used the success of her brand to raise global awareness of women and women's issues. She is involved with organizations such as Vital Voices, a group that recognizes and assists women who are seeking to make a difference by means of community efforts around the world. She also created the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation whose DVF Award is presented annually at the United Nations. Her goal is to empower women, and she uses the fruits of her success to change the lives of many. Direct, unfiltered, unabashedly proud, she is willing to empower others to be the same.
I had the opportunity to sit down for an intimate chat with “DVF” who remains a commanding cultural phenomenon after more than 40 years.
ELYSZE HELD [EH] / What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG [DVF] / I don't look at anything as a risk but as an opportunity!
EH / What is the strongest point you stress when speaking about empowering women?
DVF / I always tell women that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself…you are always going to be with yourself, so why not enjoy the company? If you learn to love yourself, after that, everything is much easier. You have to be hard on yourself, and then be nice to yourself. This is not easy to do, but if you can master it, everything else will be better.
EH / In your book, you often refer to lecturing/talking to young women. What do you think of the upcoming generation? Will they have it tougher than they think?
DVF / Young women, like generations before them, will have it tough, sure, but all women are strong. I have never met a woman who is not strong. But too often they do not know their strength, and it takes a tragedy to bring it out. I always tell young women not to wait for the tragedy, to find their own strength and use it.