It was a bit of a surreal moment to walk into a room and see Diane von Fürstenberg’s petite frame perched on a love seat, adorned in one of her signature wraps. From launching a global luxury lifestyle brand to earning the title of Forbes Magazine‘s most powerful female in fashion, this woman is a dynamo, but what makes her so alluring is not simply the glamour and the accolades, but the journey she has taken.
While many young girls long for a fairy-tale ending, Diane von Fürstenberg’s journey started as one of a sort. Forty years ago, the young Belgian princess arrived to the states with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and a vision of who she would become. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she was instilled with a sense of great responsibility from a very young age and a desire to create a life for herself on her own. Much of her recently published memoir The Woman I Wanted to Be discusses her mother as the driving source of inspiration throughout her life. The next evening in her interview with Laura Cassidy at the Elliott Bay Book Co. signing, Fürstenberg movingly stated that her mother weighed 49 pounds when she was released from the concentration camp and was told she would never have children. Diane’s healthy birth was against all odds, an act of defiance in the face of near annihilation.
Now that she has built a fashion empire, von Fürstenberg has shifted her focus to inspiring the new generation. This past month, she debuted her E! reality hit show, House of DVF, in which eight fashion-forward young women compete for the prestigious global brand ambassador title. The girls are put through a series of tests, from planning a press event to working at Fashion Week, and unsurprisingly the drama ensues.
The DVF brand symbolizes female empowerment and sophistication, so I was curious why von Fürstenberg chose to launch a reality show, a genre known for superficiality and cattiness. Once put on display, even a meritocratic competition seems like a departure from the DVF philosophy. However, when I sat down with von Fürstenberg, she explained that she simply wanted to speak to younger girls in a lighthearted manner that was not objectifying women. I believe that much is true, and though drama drives ratings, it is not impossible for a reality competition to elevate a subject for its participants and audiences. The DVF team might just be right for it, and I will be tuning in on Sunday evenings to see if they pull it off.
Von Fürstenberg had a packed two day visit to Seattle with numerous book signings, interviews and appearances. She made sure, though, to stop by the recently opened Diane von Fürstenberg boutique at the Bellevue Collection. Seattle might not be the height of glamour, but it made perfect sense for her to open a boutique here. After all, nature serves as the primary source of inspiration for her designs, as evident with the colorful, graphic prints that line the walls of her boutique. Numerous Seattle fashion bloggers and writers arrived eager to ask their most pressing questions and grab a signed copy of her memoir.
Of course I was able to squeeze a little shopping in before the night ended and will most definitely be adding a few of her pieces to my Christmas wish list. As a former dancer, I could not take my eyes of the ballerina-inspired wrap sweaters. Paired with an A-line skirt or wide legged trousers, the styling options are endless with this piece. And, since the temperatures are dropping, I might add in the Sutra Foxy Muff Clutch for a cozy, luxe effect. No matter your age, this boutique has something special to offer, and make sure to grab a copy of her memoir The Woman I Wanted to Be for some inspiring holiday reading!