Friday, February 27, 2015

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

Diane von Furstenberg is a lot of things… A pioneer, a mother, a fashion designer, a princess, a daughter, a philanthropist, a wife and much more, but before all of that, she was simply a girl who knew what she wanted out of life. The Woman I Wanted to Be, DVF's memoir tells the story of how she became the sort of person she dreamed she'd be and it's a fascinating look into the life of one of the most iconic fashion figures in the world.

The Woman I Wanted to Be isn't a chronological account of her entire life, but a series of stories centering around themes that are important to the author. For those of you who are die-hard fashionistas, you'll particularly enjoy the final segment of the book titled The Business of Fashion where DVF details the ups, downs and hows of her long, successful and sometimes frustrating fashion career. If you're not the biggest fashion fan, you'll be delighted to know that she doesn't write exclusively about her career in designing clothes… She also writes about her childhood in Europe, her relationships, her mother, her brief career in beauty, her battle with cancer and her jealousy-inducing social life & travel schedule. 

This is an enjoyable read to say the least. DVF opens up her mind and heart and puts it on the page for the whole world to see. Her failures, her wins, her personal life… It's all in there to enlighten and inspire. Anyone who's interested in starting a business would find this book useful in my opinion - she is very candid about how she built and maintained her booming fashion empire, right down to annual sales figures, marketing ideas and staffing. I love how willing she is to own up to and share her mistakes… They are after all a big part of making us all who we are - no journey is complete with out a few mistakes.

It's easy to think that a princess stepped off a plane in the 70's and magically became DVF because of her connections, lifestyle and wealth, but that's an unfair assessment of Diane von Furstenberg. True, those things certainly didn't hurt in getting her started, but hard work, perseverance and dedication have been key factors in establishing her longevity, success and growth. DVF's drive, determination and desire to have a man's life in a woman's body have inspired me immensely - she's a pioneer for us women, whether we're fashion fans or not. I'm also inspired by how she peaked at an early age in fashion and made a comeback worthy of history books. Reading The Woman I Wanted to Be is a good reminder that life is short, opportunities are plentiful and nothing is unreachable if we work hard, use our minds and focus on what's important in life.

In addition to being the story of Diane von Furstenberg, this book is also a platform for the biography of her iconic wrap dress - the dress that started it all. It's fascinating to see how one idea sparked such a massive empire and continues to be the bread & butter of the DVF brand to this day. There's a lot to be learned from Diane von Furstenberg's The Woman I Wanted to Be… As is often said about people, she's not just a pretty face. 

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