The frank and compelling story of an extraordinary woman and her adventures in fashion, business, and life.
“Most fairy tales end with the girl marrying the prince. That's where mine began,” says Diane Von Furstenberg. Von Furstenberg lived the American Dream before she was thirty, building a multimillion-dollar fashion empire while raising two children and living life in the fast lane. Her wrap dress, a cultural phenomenon in the seventies, hangs in the Smithsonian Institution; her entry into the beauty business in 1979 was as serendipitous and as successful.
Von Furstenberg learned her trade in the trenches, crisscrossing the country to make personal appearances at department stores, selling her dresses and cosmetics. That business had its ups and downs, as the fashionista entrepreneur’s unparalleled success became the source of its own undoing and she contended with bankruptcy, the loss of her business, and finally a complete self-reinvention that took her back to the top of the industry. This revealing and contemplative memoir works to make sense of the contradictions of the author’s life: glamour vs. hard work, European vs. American, daughter of a Holocaust survivor vs. wife of an Austro-Italian prince, mother vs. entrepreneur, lover vs. tycoon. She emerges wiser, stronger, and ever more determined never to sacrifice her passion for life.
In 1973, Diane Von Furstenburg introduced her now famous wrap dress, an outfit she estimates has "found its way into almost every closet in America," becoming a cultural icon, symbolic of women's growing sexual and financial freedom. Five years later, in 1978, the market appeared to be saturated with the dress and the era of the wrap came to a close. Today, Von Furstenburg has updated and reissued the dress for a new generation; launched fragrance, cosmetics and couture companies; and ventured into the home-shopping business. She asks that this memoir "inspire those who read it," and certainly the determination and verve with which she has overcome each setback in her life--be it a business reversal, a love affair turned sour or a cancer diagnosis--might prove inspirational to some. But despite the fascinating raw materials of her life (the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she married a German prince, becoming a jet-setting socialite/entrepreneur/mother/paramour), this autobiography offers far more glitz than grist for thought. She drops names and brand names so interchangeably that we know not only who the celebrities are who buy her clothes but when the author received her first Pucci shirt. When Von Furstenburg reflects on her philosophy of life--"to me, life is love is life is love. I put those words on a T-shirt once"--readers may suspect that the real purpose here is to sell apparel. And sell it will. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vogue.