Through the years, Diane von Furstenberg has racked up friends all over the globe. With myriad interests and pursuits, she is the quintessential conversationalist. At least, that’s what her friends and colleagues say — and who would know better than them?
So WWD asked about their impressions and what they like to talk about when they have some face time with the lady.
Click Here for a Slideshow of Diane von Furstenberg and Her Friends Over the Years >>
This story first appeared in the September 30, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“One of the things I love about DVF is that there’s nothing you can’t talk to her about. She is engaged with the world around her in a way few others are. She’s been everywhere, knows everyone, and is interested in everything. History, politics, world events, technology, love, life, music, art — nothing is off-limits.”
— Anderson Cooper
“Of Diane, I admire the verve, the positivity and the irreverent spirit — [characteristics] that are reflected in her fashion. Although very different from me, we both believe in emancipation, from opposite corners and with opposite results but with the same conviction and the same passion. Her wrap dress is part of history: It sums up the lightheartedness of an era but has become a timeless classic.”
— Giorgio Armani
“When we get together, we always speak about two things: children and grandchildren. Diane has always had a clear vision in life. That’s why she has been such a success in everything she does.”
— Carolina Herrera
“We go back a long way and we share a lot of memories, so, when we talk, it’s very intimate, personal and cozy, our conversations. We share our feelings, our struggles, what we’re doing. We laugh a lot about lots of things. She has a great sense of humor about life, and I do, too.”
— Marisa Berenson
“Because fear is not an option in DVF’s world. She is great to talk to when you want to gain confidence and support. I like to discuss projects and ideas with her. She will always believe in you and make things happen. She likes to help to make your dream come true and would have no time to spare for complaints or why it is not possible. I also like to talk with her about any woman’s issue because she thinks out of the box and is a free spirit. A great role model that [helps] you remember how powerful a woman is.’
— Anh Duong
“She has an interest in the world she lives in and all the factors that affect it. She’s fascinated by people, how they are and the way they are. She’s a witness to excellence….I talk to her about everything, but we often talk about French politics because I’ve interviewed a lot of French politicians and I had an apartment there for 10 years. She has an apartment there. She’s much more French than I am. We have a lot of friends [whom] we share from France, whether they be writers, in film or businesspeople — people I’ve known because of my interest as a journalist.
“I obviously don’t know anything about fashion, so we don’t talk about fashion much. We talk a little about building a business. I’ve watched her build a business and her business acumen. We talk a bit about people that we know and share the enjoyment of their company and their success. I’m working so hard with four shows now that I don’t see her as much as I would like to, and I wish I had more time to….I simply love her. She’s an amazing woman.”
— Charlie Rose
“I know Diane since she first arrived in New York, and we have a friendship that, I am lucky to say, has lasted with no blemish ever since. I admire her capacity for endless love, integrity and loyalty. She has lived a full life without ever compromising her goals. To me, she is the best example of a life fully lived. I am so lucky she is my friend!”
— Oscar de la Renta
“Diane is a fascinating woman who leads a fascinating life. I love just listening to her, learning from her. Her take on things is so positive that she gives me more hope than I normally have. She is very strong and opinionated, and I love hearing her opinions. They come from a place of knowledge and deep understanding. She’s the best person to go to for advice, somehow managing to combine the practical and the profound. We talk a lot about family, about what it means to be a wife and mother. I don’t think we’ve ever had a conversation about fashion…there’s too much else to talk about!”
— Ellen Barkin
“Diane von Furstenberg has contributed to the fashion industry in so many important ways and, in doing so, has become an icon, inspiring so many others, including me. Her unique creative vision, her steadfast commitment to helping the industry prosper and her actions on behalf of female empowerment are all hallmarks of an incredible career.”
— Frida Giannini, Gucci
“Diane is such a remarkable and interesting woman — I have never met anyone so driven. I have great respect and admiration for her accomplishments, both in her own career and in what she has done to expand the influence of the CFDA.”
— Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection
“DVF is one of the most fun people to talk to because she’s a globe-trotter, interested in everything, who knows and sees everybody — so there’s nothing I don’t like to talk to her about.”
— Andy Cohen
“My relationship with Diane started while I was applying for the Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund. From the moment she came into my CFDA incubator studio and sat on a broken chair to when we reenacted ‘The Graduate’ for a Harper’s Bazaar story to when she came to Nepal to visit my family and I and over the course of many a lunch and cups of coffee, we have had so many wonderful conversations. We talk about anything from professional career decisions and paths I come across to personal relationships. We discuss steps to spirituality, our love for hiking, trekking and our shared love for exotic lands. We have talked about everything under the sun and always with absolute passion.”
— Prabal Gurung
“I love getting to work with Diane. We are both very involved with the High Line and with everything that happens in the neighborhood around it, so we are usually talking about what might be good for the community. It could be about a business or nonprofit initiative in the neighborhood that needs our help or about an event we’re working on together or about a piece of merchandise Diane is designing to sell in our High Line shop. I’ve learned so much from her. When she expresses an opinion, it sounds like poetry to me.”
— Joshua David, cofounder and president of Friends of the High Line
“Meeting Diane was a crucial moment in my life. Her energy, strength, confidence, humor, elegance and ever-young spirit are contagious. Her first biography was such an inspiring read, I was hooked. She taught how life is not only a straight line — mistakes happen or, simply, sometimes things don’t go how you thought they would [or] should. But you show who you truly are exactly in those moments. I absolutely can’t wait to read the new one. Life with her is such a fun ride!”
— Elisa Sednaoui, model-actress
“With her style, Diane von Furstenberg has represented the emancipation of women without renouncing glamor. She herself personifies the values of her style and is an iconic figure of the fashion world. Thinking of her, there are images in our memories of New York’s Factory, parties at Studio 54, the fun and freedom of that moment, which, with her fashion, she has recounted and continues to recount.”
— Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino creative directors
“She has been a dear friend for years, but my perception is objective. She used to buy my jerseys in great quantities, and I would travel to New York to see her. I have followed her design and entrepreneurial trajectory with great admiration. She has left a significant mark in the world of entrepreneurial associations and done noteworthy things. Often, good entrepreneurs are the worst examples of managers of associations, but she excels at both. In my role, I have had problems with others but never had any difficulty in finding an accord with her. I can only speak highly of her. She is an excellent communicator, and she is a well-rounded, fully comprehensive person.”
— Mario Boselli, president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana
“Diane is an extraordinary person. She is totally individual in spirit and thought.”
— Erdem Moralioglu
“She is the brother I never had, a perfect mix of sex, strength and sensibility. We talk about anything — love, passion, hate — never about fashion.”
— François Catroux, interior decorator
“She likes to discuss everything, but she’s not very much into small talk. Diane loves to talk about her family, French news, politics, her hair, travels and all new books. With me, she is very European, and she always stays on top of what’s going on in France. New technologies fascinate Diane, [as does] all that has to do with women and women’s rights and, above all, travels — no luxury, but cultural travels, focused on artisanship and people. She also loves to discuss and rediscuss her friends — and that never stops.”
— Christian Louboutin
“Diane is one of the very few people in the world with whom I can share my deepest fears and concerns, and who is going to always understand me and give me the best advice.”
— Natalia Vodianova, model-philanthropist
A PRESIDENTIAL EXCHANGE
Diane von Furstenberg of the CFDA e-mailed Didier Grumbach of the Chambre Syndicale in June 2012, upon both of them being reelected at their respective organizations:
Congrats on your re-election!
I just got re-elected too!
What can you do? Either we’re the best or nobody wants these duties!
Have a good summer…
Dear Diane, Thank you and bravo.
We are relentless.
See you soon,
All the best,