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Diane Von Furstenberg Talks Confidence, Design, and the Secret to Life

Diane Von Furstenberg is most well–known for designing the wrap dress, but the fashion icon has continued to inspire others with her pearls of wisdom and social media presence, including the launch of her InCharge podcast. In the wake of her latest book Own It: The Secret of Life, DVF shared some of the advice she has to offer with Her Campus members — and the audience of young women dressed in vintage DVF wrap dresses were eager to learn from her.

The word to encapsulate DVF would be empowerment. It’s clear that she seeks to empower women, not just in her day–to–day life, but also in her designs. As she reflected on the fact that her career was launched by a simple design, DVF remarked that the beauty of her wrap dress wasn’t the dress itself, but the woman in it. 

When a woman puts on a wrap dress, something about her changes, and her body language becomes more confident. This is what DVF wants to be remembered for — the fact that she created a dress that made women feel good about themselves. She describes this phenomenon as “something magic happen[ing].”

DVF spent most of her interview reflecting on the magic innate to people — particularly the magic within women, who are always central to her designs. When asked what sort of person DVF designs for, she was quick to reply that she dresses “the woman in charge.” The woman in charge, she clarified, is not necessarily the boss of a company, nor is it an aggressive term. 

The woman in charge is the woman who knows exactly who she is and is true to herself. She embraces her flaws and “owns her vulnerability.” This is someone who is proud of who they are. Most importantly, the woman in charge owns it, with “owning it” referring to embracing your flaws, your hardships, your accomplishments, and everything that is thrown your way — which becomes a part of your story and who you are. 

“Owning it” is the guiding philosophy for DVF as she believes everything happens for a reason when you accept the world around you. 

During the interview, she cited a study on cancer patients to demonstrate her point. The patients who wonder why bad things are happening to them often struggle with treatment more than the ones who say, “This happened. Now what?” When your career verges off course, don’t wallow; simply take what you have and run with it. In fact, DVF didn’t think fashion was her calling; it was just something wonderful that happened.

This seems to be DVF’s secret to life, as the title of her new book suggests. Many fear aging, but DVF reminded the attendees that there is beauty to behold in every stage. She doesn’t fear or resent aging. In fact, DVF yearned to be older her whole life, to be “a sophisticated woman,” a title that comes with age. Now that she has achieved this dream, she shares that the only downside to getting older is that there is less time left, but no age is better than another. Aging provides opportunities, “new experiences, colors, love,” she said. 

At the press conference, Diane Von Furstenberg made it clear that she has much more to share with women and the world than just wrap dresses, or even just fashion. DVF lives her life in a way that is purposeful, just as any good design should be. 

DVF shares more insight on how to live a life full of love, gratitude, and confidence in her dictionary–style book, Own It: The Secret to Life. She was especially excited to find that the book was popular with Gen Z because “she loves this new generation.” Diane Von Furstenberg will undoubtedly continue to empower women through her designs and many campaigns.

Christina is a senior at UPenn studying English. When she isn't reading books, quoting Gatsby, or singing show tunes, wishing she could hit those highs like Patti LuPone, she is definitely annoying people by correcting their grammar.
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