The iconic and legendary Diane Von Furstenberg
1. Your signature wrap dress looks good on everyone. No matter the age, no matter the body type. When first designing it, did you feel you were tapping into something timeless that would forever change the course of women’s fashion? And how did you come up with the first heritage leopard print when it debuted in 1974?
I created the wrap dress in my mid-20s. I wanted to design a simple little dress that was easy, practical and sexy...little did I know that I would create the uniform for the libertés woman! Prints became my expertise because I trained in a leading printing plant in Como, the Italian center of silk. Leopard print has always been in fashion for clothes or home, it is a classic.
2. You’ve always been drawn to prints. Graphic, bright, cheery, they always bring such a sense of optimism to your designs. In your opinion, what makes your heritage prints, specifically the beautiful ones you’ll be showcasing in the DVF X Onia collaboration, so legendary and iconic? Ex: How did the archival lip prints inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1984 pop art come to fruition?
As I said print making has been my training. I was lucky to work with the most talented illustrators and colorists and I really learned the trade. Ever since, prints are in my blood and I really have an eye for it. For decades I take pictures of nature, bark, leaves, animals, architecture, color palettes, etc. I have trained many young people in my studio to do the same. Prints is truly my skill, I’m always sketching them, I have tens of thousands in my archives and I know them all.
3. You’ve traveled around the world and seen so many intriguing destinations. Is there any place you’ve been that’s like nowhere else on earth? What made it so unique?
I am a true traveler and have covered a lot of ground. My discovery of Bali and Indonesia in the 80s was major for my inspirations as was Uzbekistan, Bhutan, but I get inspiration everywhere, how can you not?
4. Name the three defining characteristics of a perfect swimsuit. Do the criterion change if you’re sitting by a pool or being active on the beach?
I am a big swimmer! I swim in the ocean for miles and I love all swimwear but it must flatter the body. I love one piece swimwear as it is flattering and practical but the perfect bikini is the dream. I actually wear a one piece suit all year under my clothes instead of underwear. I am ALWAYS ready to jump in the water at any time!
5. When you’re not in the city overseeing a fashion empire, where do you go to clear your head? Where do you go to boost creativity? Or spend time with the ones you love?
I spend 3 to 4 months a year on our boat so swimwear and coverups are really the clothes I wear most.
6. You’ve recently been quoted as saying, “to empower a little girl is to empower the woman she will become,” and we love this sentiment. Talk to us a little about how you’ve helped empower the women closest to you as well as women on a more global, far-reaching scale.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t sure what I would do but I always knew the woman I wanted to be, I wanted to be a woman InCharge! I became that woman and it is now my duty to help others to be the women they want to be....InCharge!
7. You’ve been instrumental in reviving and developing so many New York institutions, from the High Line to Hudson Yards to Liberty Island. What does it mean to you to be so directly impactful on the enduring strength and beauty of this city
When you become successful, two things happen - you can pay your bills and you have a voice. Using your voice to make things happen is a privilege, an honor and a duty!