Summer Reading: DVF’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, is perfect food-for-thought in a world of filled with chaos.
Amidst the Taylor Swift v. Kim Kardashian drama and ongoing mudslinging at Hillary Clinton, today I wanted to take a time out to show appreciation and respect for Diane von Furstenberg.
Admittedly, reading has found its way to the nosebleed seats of my life this year but over the sunny weekend, I finally carved out time at the pool to finish DVF’s memoir The Woman I Wanted to Be. It’s a gripping and aptly appropriate title, as Diane von Furstenberg has evolved through the years into an iconic woman that I greatly admire. She’s thoughtful. She’s kind. She’s strong-willed. She also has a legendary fashion career – having designed the iconic wrap dress, built an international brand, survived a major comeback and currently sits as acting president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
Without a doubt, Diane von Furstenberg is a woman of many notable achievements. She is also a mother, wife and daughter – which is where her story begins to unfold.
In The Woman I Want to Be, DVF shares the story of her mother Lilliane, who just 18 months before Diane’s birth was living at Auschwitz concentration camp. Overcoming great odds and very poor health, she heroically survived the holocaust and gave birth to Diane in Belgium, 1946. It is from her mother’s heritage and life through the holocaust that Diane adopted the belief that ‘fear is not an option’ and to keep going, no matter what challenges stand in your way.
Another mantra important to Diane is, “Love is life is love.”
As I got to know Diane through her memoir, I discovered that she leads a life very rich with love. To her, love and life are synonymous and she chased her heart around the world in great romances that took her to Bali, Italy and everywhere in between. In her early twenties, she married Prince Egon Furstenberg (Yes, prince). Together, the two shared a very high profile, jet-setting life that was splashed across magazines and newspapers. While in a whirlwind relationship, seemingly having it all – Diane decided that it wasn’t the life she wanted to lead and the two separated, staying close friends to the very end.
Outside of love, Diane is a woman of big dreams and hard work.
“Passion and persistence are what matter. Dreams are achievable and you can make your fantasy come true, but there are no shortcuts. Nothing happens without hard work.” – Diane
In her memoir, DVF talks about her rise, fall and comeback in the world of fashion. In her twenties, she reached rapid success in a chapter of her life she calls ‘The American Dream’. Diane sailed across the Atlantic, with big dreams of making it in New York. She knocked on several doors only to be turned away. Then, one important meeting with Diane Vreeland of Vogue – who loved her jersey shift dresses – changed everything. From there, the doors opened and as a legit princess, she was intriguing to buyers and had a platform to build a fashion company. Upon her design of the famous ‘wrap dress’, things really began to soar…and fast.
Of course, as life has it – when you have it all, you risk losing it all. After rapid success, her sales plateaued and she was forced to sell off her licenses to avoid bankruptcy. But with a never give up attitude, Diane von Ferstenberg kept her held high, she evaluated her mistakes and fought back to rebuild her brand into the DVF we know today. Just how did she do it, well – you need to read for yourself, of course. *wink*
As we’re surrounded by violence, anger and political turmoil – DVF’s memoir The Woman I Wanted to Be was a perfectly soothing and peaceful read that offered perspective and brought me closer to a truly inspiring woman. Diane wrote as though we were sitting together having a cup of tea in her living room, both warm and inviting. She embraced her reader to share a story rich with adventure – taking you around the world, in and out of the ever evolving fashion industry and to the core of a woman with such a vital spirit.
The mark of a great book? When you walk away inspired to go out and live life to the fullest. To chase your dreams. To follow your heart. To explore. And, perhaps most importantly, to never give up.
DVF’s memoir was truly a joy to read and it felt like a big hug from Diane herself, giving a deep glimpse into the mind and heart of a great woman. I definitely recommend picking this up to learn more about her fascinating life! She truly is a remarkable woman we can all learn from.
As always, stay stylish and keep chasing your dreams!