A sweeping biography of one of the most influential and controversial legends of New York fashion – the iconic designer whose creations captured the modern feminist spirit.
In 1969 when women’s liberation and equal rights were on everyone’s lips, twenty-two-year-old Diane von Furstenberg set out to have a career of her own. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Diane grew up a frizzy-haired, gap-toothed outsider in Brussels. Improbably, she became the first wife of Austrian nobleman Egon von Furstenberg, moved to New York City, and quickly made herself a fixture of an outrageous fashion scene. Pregnant and lugging a suitcase of samples to department stores, Diane started a dress business with three styles – and in 1973 burst onto the national stage with the invention of the wrap dress.
Embraced for its flattering style by millions of American women of all ages, sizes, and shapes, the dress became a cult object, tied inexorably to the image Diane projected of youth independence, and sex – the “DVF woman,” a model of self-sufficiency, sensuality and confidence. In this masterful biography, Gioia Diliberto delves beyond that woman to bring Diane’s extraordinary life into focus, drawing on scores of interviews with Diane’s family, friends, employees, lovers, and the designer herself.
From her idiosyncratic girlhood through her rise to the top of the fashion industry, from her personal and professional storms to her controversial relationships with husbands and lovers, Gioia tells all, tugging on the sash of DVF’s amazing roller coaster life to reveal the designer as never before.