Growing up I was overweight and quite top heavy, and since most of my friends were skinny minis I found my confidence slowly withering. When my friends starting wearing mini skirts, I couldn’t shop in the same places as them. And when I did finally find something that I liked and that fit, I would wear it over and over again. As I got older my insecurities grew with me and I started raiding my mothers closet because it was hard for me to dress my age. That’s when I found THE dress.
It was a classic black and white wrap dress by Diane Von Furstenberg. The minute I slipped it on I felt like all my questions had been answered. It accentuated my curves and my heavy top while making my waist look smaller (of course no one knew about the spanx). After I discovered this perfect dress, I knew I needed more. I went shopping and found that DVF’s entire range of clothes was fun, young, extremely flattering on every shape and size and not that expensive (if bought in the US) and I couldn’t believe it.
Diane Von Furstenberg is our inspiration this week because she is so innovative and created a line of clothes that give women everywhere confidence in their body shape. I had the opportunity to hear her speak in my second year at university and she stated how she wants to empower women and make them feel their best.
She was born in Belgium in 1946 to a Jewish family. Her mother was a Holocaust survivor and Diane was born just 18 months after her mother was released from the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her mother taught her that “fear is not an option” and this is where she got her confidence to do what she does. Diane went on to study economics at the University of Geneva, then moved to Paris then Italy and eventually ended up working for Angelo Ferretti as his apprentice in his first textile factory.
When Furstenberg was 18 she met Prince Egon of Furstenberg, the eldest son of a German prince. They married in 1969 and had two children. She has been quoted saying, “The minute I knew I was about to be Egon's wife, I decided to have a career. I wanted to be someone of my own, and not just a plain little girl who got married beyond her desserts.” She became a sensation in 1974 when she met Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who declared her designs “absolutely smashing” and was then listed on the Fashion Calendar for New York Fashion Week. Her marriage did not last and she has since remarried Barry Diller, an American media mogul.
By 1976 Von Furstenberg invented the wrap dress. She sold millions of these dresses and they became a symbol of female power and freedom to an entire generation. The impact of this garment both to women and to the fashion industry is so great that the dress is featured at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian.
Her story is important to me for both my personal life and business career. Diane is an incredible woman who came from nothing and achieved everything.
Shaleena & Roshni
What we're listening to: Tina Turner "The Best'