She was born Diana Simone Michelle Halfin in Brussels, Belgium in 1946.She is Belgian by birth, with Russian Jewish blood. Her mother Lily Nahmias, was a courageous survivor of Auschwitz German Concentration camp. Diane majored in Economics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

At university, when she was 18, she met Prince Egon of Fürstenberg, the elder son of a German prince and his first wife, an heiress to the Fiat automotive fortune. Married in 1969 and divorced three years later, the couple had two children, Alexandre andTatiana, who were born in New York City. She is now the grandmother of three children. The Fürstenbergs’ marriage, though not popular with the groom’s family because of the bride’s religion, was considered dynastic, and Diane became Princess Diane of Fürstenberg at the time of the wedding, according to the Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels: Fürstliche Häuser.

As Fürstenberg once explained, “The minute I knew 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 deserts.’ In 1970, with a $30.000 investment, she began designing women’s clothes. She is best known for introducing the knitted jersey “wrap dress” in 1973, an example of which, due to its important influence on women’s fashion, is in the collection of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In the 70's, she created a wraparound dress, which became a best seller. It had long sleeves, a fitted top and a skirt which wrapped around the body to tie at the waist. By 1975, 5 million of these wraparound dresses had been sold.

In 1975, Diane Von Furstenberg made the cover of Newsweek magazine. She was called New York's fashion queen.

Fürstenberg has started a number of successful businesses including a line of jewellery, handbags, scarves, stockings, cosmetics and has ventured into the home-shopping business, which she started in 1991.

In 1984, she sold her Cosmetic business to Beecham for $ 24 million and moved to Paris. There she founded Salvy, a French language publishing house.

In 1990, she moved back to New York . She started up "Surroundings" her lifestyle range, that includes candles, sheets, and dresses.

In 1997, after more than a decade, Fürstenberg successfully relaunched her high-end line.

The same year her son Alexander married one of the 3 famous Miller sisters one of whom married into the Greek royal family. Her daughter-in-law became creative director of the company.

In 1999 Diane von Furstenberg became a Director on the Board of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) the ruling body of the American fashion industry.

In the year 2001, she opened a new store in New York. In April 2003, Diane entered into partnership with Reebok Sports Shoes, and introduced her new line RBK by DVF. Venus Williams will be wearing tennis clothes by the new firm, at Wimbledon in June 2003. We will try to put a picture up as soon as possible.

Diane scored another smash hit when she designed the tennis dress worn by Venus Williams at Wimbledon in June 2003. It was an open-laced back corset-style in white, and a picture is shown here on the right.

In September 2003, in fashionable Notting Hill, Diane celebrated her first London Store with a party loaded with celebrities. She wore one of her iconic wrap dresses with a flower print in wine-dreg red.

Diane's dream came true in September 2004, when her first Parisian flagship store opened amidst a host of international celebrities.

In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awarded her a lifetime achievement award. In 2006, she was named president of the CFDA. In 1998 she published her memoirs, “DIANE: A Signature Life”.

In 2006, she appeared as a judge on several episodes of Project Runway. She also teamed with T-Mobile to design a Limited Edition Sidekick 3.

The Look

Using silk jersey prints she produced a line of clothes, mostly tunic dresses in varying length and bias-cut shirtwaisters. Von Furstenberg favours jersey and often uses geometric prints in the dresses she designs. Ms. von Fürstenberg is a recipient of The International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.

Who Wears It

Kirsten Dunst, Cindy Crawford, the Hilton sisters, Diane Lane, Goldie Hawn, Brooke Shields, Catherine Zeta Jones


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