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BEIJING — Citic Press of China has just released the Chinese edition of Diane von Furstenberg’s autobiography “A Signature Life.”
The same publisher released the Chinese edition of “Steve Jobs” a month ago. “We are trying to introduce the Chinese public to stories of great creative talents,” said Citic Press’ publisher, Pan Yue.
This story first appeared in the December 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Von Furstenberg herself made a grand appearance in Beijing at a press conference last week to help promote the book, which went on sale last week both online and off-line in China. DVF the brand has already opened three stores in both Beijing and Shanghai, and more stores are in the pipeline for 2012.
It is obvious that Diane’s reputation, and that of her wrap dress, precedes her. Yang Lan, an anchorwoman known as the “Chinese Barbara Walters,” came to the press conference and said that she already owns several wrap dresses. “It’s easy to wear and very flattering to the Chinese body,” she said. “I bought several, and thought, ‘I like this designer, she knows what we want.’ ” She invited Diane to be her guest on the popular talk show, “Woman in the World.”
It seems the Chinese audience and press were surprised to learn that Diane von Furstenberg is actually a princess. This immediately caused a stir. Fan Bingbing, an actress with a reputation as China’s sex symbol, immediately asked Diane what it felt like to be a princess.
Quite a few local designers showed up at the press conference, many of them brought their work with them as gifts for von Furstenberg, hoping to get her career advice. “Focus on doing the work you love,” said von Furstenberg. “Success is a result of that.”
Interestingly, on the same day, the Chinese media reported that a research result shows 70 percent of Chinese women believe that to marry well is more important than a career. Most of the Chinese press, particularly press targeting women, wanted von Furstenberg to speak on this subject.
“You can do both,” she replied.
“We are very happy that the book launch coincided with the release of such statistics,” said Citic Press’ Pan Yue. “It’s a confusing time for Chinese women, especially those who have career goals for themselves. We hope Diane’s book will inspire them to realize their potential.”
So far, the book is doing well in retail; dangdang.com, the major online bookseller in China, reported that the book is already sold out, and it has requested more copies from the publisher.
Editor’s Note: Huang Hung is a Beijing-based journalist and author. Early in the new year, she will debut ChinaFile, a weekly column in WWD and on WWD.COM.