WOMAN

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Style -

soon a glam­orous fix­ture at Stu­dio 54, rub­bing shoul­ders with Yves Saint Lau­rent and Andy Warhol. I point out it must have been ex­cit­ing to be part of a move­ment so in­te­gral to pop cul­ture, but she is quick to add: “Stu­dio 54 lasted only two years. You know what was dif­fer­ent? We had no AIDS then. That’s changed ev­ery­thing.”

Change also came to her in the ’90s: She was di­ag­nosed with can­cer and in the same decade her name­sake brand lost its groove. Ever the trooper, she fought her ill­ness and res­ur­rected her la­bel by de­sign­ing for a new gen­er­a­tion of women who, like her, are in tune with their own strengths and iden­ti­ties. This rap­port with one’s self, ac­cord­ing to von Fürsten­berg, is vi­tal. “That is the one ad­vice I would give any­one. The most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship in life is the one you have with your­self.”

Her achieve­ments made her a wor­thy re­cip­i­ent of the Coun­cil of Fash­ion De­sign­ers of Amer­ica’s life­time achieve­ment award in 2005. She also as­sumed the role of the coun­cil’s pres­i­dent, and in the years since, she’s tended to an ever-grow­ing sup­port sys­tem that has launched the ca­reers of Alexan­der Wang, Joseph Al­tuzarra, and Prabal Gu­rung.

45 years af­ter she first im­pressed Diana Vree­land with her suit­case of dresses, it seems von Fürsten­berg is ready for a new be­gin­ning of sorts. “I do see this as a re­birth – not for the dress, but for the com­pany,” she ex­plains. “As a de­signer, I think I’m your friend in the closet, so I want to trans­late that into ev­ery­thing we do. It has to be so­lu­tion-driven.”

That said, she’s not above talk­ing about her legacy and mor­tal­ity: “I would like [who­ever takes over] to un­der­stand the true spirit of what I want to do. My role is to give women [the] tools so they can be the women they want to be. And I want ev­ery­thing to be in for­mat. It’s very sim­ple.

“Life is a jour­ney and death is a des­ti­na­tion. But I’m not afraid of that,” she re­veals. “If the world ends to­mor­row, I’ll say, ‘Thank you.’”

THE

SHE BE­CAME

Diane von Fürsten­berg speaks to Gerald Tan about that fa­mous wrap dress, hav­ing no re­grets, and the im­por­tance of find­ing one’s

voice in the world.

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