On Tuesday, March 6th CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg spoke to the press and students at The Fashion Institute of Technology. She opened the evening talking about her early marriage to Prince Egon von Furstenburg with whom she shares two children. Diane always wanted to have a career all her own and with the success of her wrap dress in the early 70′s she launched a fashion empire. By 1976 she had sold over a million of these dresses and at age 28 she appeared on the cover of Newsweek Magazine wearing her infamous wrap dress. She shared a photo of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sitting on the white house lawn with her family wearing the iconic DVF wrap dress.
This Belgian born Fashion Designer went on to talk about her philanthropic involvement. Diane sits on the board of Vital Voices, a women’s leadership organization that empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the world. In 2010 she established The DVF Awards with The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to honor women who have displayed leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to their causes. These awards will be presented on Friday, March 9th at The United Nations.
She has also partnered with Anna Wintour of Vogue to create Fashion Night Out, a global initiative originally created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy during the recession. Together these two powerful woman put together the CFDA Fashion Fund which is a program designed to support the next generation of fashion designers in New York City.
Von Furstenberg talked about the importance of protecting the Garment District and how she donated $50,000 to launch the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University. This contribution was matched by the CFDA.
In 2005, Diane was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her impact on fashion, and one year later, was elected the CFDA’s new president, an office she continues to hold for six years now. This lecture coincided with the launch of a new exhibit at the Museum at FIT called Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA. The exhibit runs until April 20th and showcases approximately 100 garments and accessories designed by members of the CFDA.
“Woman inspire me so I design to inspire them, I want my clothes to be your best friend”
At the end of this impressive lecture the program was opened up for questions. When asked what advice she could give to young designers just starting out she turned philosophical and said that “the most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself“. She emphasized the importance of asking yourself if your dreams make sense and if they do and you have something to offer then follow your passion. Fashion does not just come from the classroom, fashion is everywhere… It is on the streets and all around us. The internet has revolutionized the way we do business and made it easier to market your brand.
Another fun fact learned that night from Diane herself is that she signs all her tweets with “Love Diane”. Tweets from @DVF without her name are written by her PR team.
She was also asked about her collaboration with Gap where she has designed a line of children’s clothes set to launch in almost 30 countries on March 15th. This may have something to do with her three grandchildren and a fourth on the way.
Diane von Furstenberg “has become the woman she always wanted to be“.
Photo: Getty Images