Coming from a non-typical fashion background, Diane Furstenberg is a leader in women’Â€Â™s fashion, but through unconventional means. Born, Diana Simone Michelle Halfin, in Belgium, her mother was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, giving her Belgian, Russian and Jewish roots.
She attended the University of Geneva in Switzerland with a major in Economics when she first met Prince Egon of Furstenberg. Egon was the eldest son of a German prince and his wife and the two were married in 1969. The marriage gave Diane the title of Princess Diane of Furstenberg but was an unpopular decision by the royal family because of her religious background.
Although the marriage only lasted three years, the pair had two children, Alexander and Tatiana, born in New York. Diane began her fashion career in 1970 with a $30,000 investment. In 1973 Diane designed and created the “wrap dress”Â€Â made from knit jersey. The design was hugely popular and became a staple in women’s fashion. Because of the cultural significance in women’Â€Â™s fashion, this design is a piece in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Her wrap dress design evolved to include intricate designs with long sleeves and fitted tops, and by 1975, 5 million had been sold. Her success resulted in being named New York’s fashion queen in the 1975 cover of Newsweek magazine.
Expanding from her wrap dress designs, Diane Von Furstenberg included a jewelry line, handbags, scarves, stockings and even cosmetics to her creations. She received $24 million in 1984 when she sold her cosmetic line to Beecham. The result of this acquisition allowed Diane to found a French language publishing house called Salvy.
However, Diane did not stop reinventing her designs, and in 1990 she added candles and sheets to her design portfolio in Surroundings. In 2001, she opened a store in New York, and in 2003, she struck a partnership with Reebok Shoes, which was donned by such sports celebrities as Venus Williams.
Ever expanding and evolving, Diane Von Furstenberg now holds sportwear, fragrances, beauty products and, of course, the signature dresses she was made famous for. Her accolades involve the lifetime achievement award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, membership on the Board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and even a judge on Project Runway.
Diane’Â€Â™s royal roots continued through the marriage of her son Alexander’Â€Â™s marriage into the Greek royal family, but her daughter followed in her fashion footsteps by becoming creative director of her company.
Diane Von Furstenberg is the pinnacle of luxury in women’Â€Â™s fashion, with a following that rivals Chanel in popularity. Her designs can be found all over the world and will surely evolve in upcoming years.