DIANE VON FURSTENBERG Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Diane von Furstenberg.                                                         
Born: 31 December 1946                                                               
Diane von Furstenberg (born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin on December 31, 1946,       
Brussels, Belgium) is a Jewish American fashion designer best known for her           
hallmark wrap dress.                                                                 
Diane Simone Michelle Halfin was born into an enobled upper-middle class Jewish       
household. Her father was Russian-born Leon Halfin, who spent World War II in         
Switzerland, and her mother was Greek-born Liliane Nahmias, who was a Holocaust       
survivor. She studied economics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.           
At university, when she was 18, she met Prince Egon of Furstenberg, the elder         
son of a German prince and his first wife, an heiress to the Fiat automotive         
fortune. Married in 1969 and divorced three years later, the couple had two           
children, Alexandre (who was born six months after their wedding) and Tatiana,       
who were born in New York City. The Furstenberg' marriage, though not popular         
with the groom's family because of the bride's religion, was considered dynastic,     
and Diane became Princess Diane of Furstenberg at the time of the wedding,           
according to the Genealogisches Handbuch Des Adels: Furstenberg Häuser               
In 2001, she married American media mogul Barry Diller, with whom she had been       
involved, off and on, since the 1970s. In 2002, she became a naturalized U.S.         
As Furstenberg once explained, "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 deserts." In 1970, with a $30,000       
investment, she began designing women's clothes. (Her former husband became a         
fashion designer, too, launching his career in 1974.) She is best known for           
introducing the knitted jersey "wrap dress" in 1973, an example of which, due to     
its important influence on women's fashion, is in the collection of the Costume       
Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.                                         
Furstenberg has started a number of successful businesses including a line of         
cosmetics and has ventured into the home-shopping business, which she started in     
1991. In 1985 she moved to Paris, France where she founded Salvy, a French-language   
publishing house. From her design and marketing studio in a 19th-century             
carriage house in West Greenwich Village in New York City, she currently creates     
a line of high-end women's apparel which is only offered in stores such as           
Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus.                   
In 1997, after more than a decade, Furstenberg successfully relaunched her high-end   
line. In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awarded             
her a lifetime achievement award. In 2006, she was named president of the CFDA.       
In 1998 she published her memoirs, "DIANE: A Signature Life".                         
In 2006, she appeared as a judge on several episodes of Project Runway. She also     
teamed with T-Mobile to design a Limited Edition Sidekick 3.                         
Professionally and personally, she uses von with her surname instead the usual       
zu used by the House of Furstenberg (the latter term is rarely encountered           
outside of Europe). As her advertising campaigns and company letterhead indicate,     
she also prefers to spell her surname with no umlaut. Earlier in her career           
however, until the late 1990s, her company's labels included either an umlaut or     
a squiggle in its place.                                                             
Ms. von Furstenberg is a recipient of The International Center in New York's         
Award of Excellence.