Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Diane, Princess of Fürstenberg born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin on December 31, 1946 in Brussels, Belgium. Her father was Romanian-born Leon (Lipa) Halfin, who immigrated to Belgium from Chişinău in 1929. Her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, a Holocaust survivor.
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In 1970, with a $30,000 investment, Diane began designing women's clothes - "The minute I knew I was about to be Egon's wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts." (Her former husband also became a fashion designer in 1974.)
After moving to New York, she met with famed Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who declared her designs “absolutely smashing.” She then had her name listed on the Fashion Calendar for New York Fashion Week, and so her business was created.
She is best known for introducing the knitted jersey "wrap dress" in 1974, an example of which, due to its influence on women's fashion, is in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
After the phenomenal success of the wrap dress, Diane was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1976. The cover was intended to be Gerald Ford, who had just won his first Republican Presidential Primary, but was changed at the last minute.
In 1974, Diane launched a cosmetic line and her first fragrance, Tatiana, which was named after her daughter.
The New York Times reported that the annual retail sales for the company in 1979 was $150 million.
In 1985, she moved to Paris, France where she founded Salvy, a French-language publishing house. Fürstenberg started a number of other businesses including a line of cosmetics and a home-shopping business, which she launched in 1991.
Four decades on, the designer talks us through her career and style philosophy