Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped

Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped

by Gioia Diliberto


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A sweeping biography of one of the most influential and controversial legends of late twentieth-century fashion, an iconic designer whose colorful creations, including the “wrap dress,” captured the modern feminist spirit.

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor and wife of an Austrian nobleman, Diane von Furstenberg burst onto New York’s fashion scene in 1969, and within a few years became an international sensation with her colorful wrap dress in printed jersey. Embraced by millions of American women of all ages, sizes, and shapes, the dress became a cult object and symbol of women’s liberation, tied inexorably to the image of youth, independence, and sex Diane herself projected.

In this masterful biography, Gioia Diliberto brings Diane’s extraordinary life into focus, from her post-World-War-II childhood in Belgium, through her rise to the top of the fashion world during the decadent seventies and glamorous go-go eighties, to her humiliating failures both professional and personal, and her remarkable comeback in the nineties. Like Coco Chanel, Diane has always been her own best advertisement. Morphing from a frizzy brunette outsider in a sea of sleek blondes to a stunning pop cultural icon, she embodied the brand she created—“the DVF woman,” a model of self-sufficiency, sensuality, and confidence.

Diliberto’s captivating, balanced portrait, based on scores of interviews with Diane’s family, friends, lovers, employees, and the designer herself, explores von Furstenberg’s relationships with her husbands and lovers, and illuminates fashion’s evolution from rare luxury to marketing monster and the development of a uniquely American style. Lively and insightful, the book also explores the larger world of the nation’s elite, where fashion, culture, society, politics, and Hollywood collide. Diane von Furstenberg is a modern fable of self-invention, fame, wealth, failure, and success that mirrors late-twentieth century America itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062041227
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Gioia Diliberto is the author of the biographies A Useful Woman: The Early Life of Jane Addams and Debutante: The Story of Brenda Frazier, and the historical novels I Am Madame X and The Collection. She lives in Chicago.


Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

June 7, 1950

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., DePauw University, 1972; M.A., University of Maryland, 1974

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Lily 11

Egon 33

New York 53

No Zip, No Buttons 89

The Wrap 105

A DVF World 123

The Adventuress 131

Requiem for a Dress 151

Volcano of Love 175

Can We Shop? 197

The Comeback 225

Epilogue 257

Acknowledgments 273

Notes 275

Index 301

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