Engaged to a prince from one of Europe’s most noble families, Diane von Furstenberg hardly needed a job. But she has always craved independence, and as a young woman, this desire pushed her to build a business around what seemed, at the time, like just a little dress.
Von Furstenberg’s wrap dress was at once the ancient kimono and something entirely new. It was the essence of a confident woman, all power and allure, captured in a few yards of jersey fabric. It would become a symbol of women’s liberation and be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was also a harbinger of von Furstenberg’s most enduring gift to the world: confidence.
As von Furstenberg has steered her eponymous brand through four decades of a rapidly evolving fashion industry, building confidence — her way of making positive change — has been a constant. She hosts an annual awards ceremony to honor women who work to improve the lives of others and an inspiring networking luncheon for each class of female Academy Award nominees. She serves on the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, which invests in women leaders around the world and, as Chairman of CFDA, has been instrumental in advancing our Health Initiative and professional development programs. Most recently, von Furstenberg launched DVF Voices, a platform for women to connect and be inspired by other women.
As von Furstenberg’s celebrity has grown and her brand has transcended generations of women, she has always been generous with her connections, her passions and her voice. She has been a particularly vocal caretaker and champion of words her mother Lily Nahmias, a survivor of the Holocaust, often said. Radiating her own power and allure, von Furstenberg stands before young graduates, before survivors, before entrepreneurs, before friends and repeats: Fear is not an option.