Talita von Furstenberg

As TVF, the name of her sportswear label hints at, Talita von Furstenberg’s fashion industry lineage cannot be denied.

When your grandmother is Diane von Furstenberg, there is no better in-house consultant. In touch with the famed designer 10 times a day via text, phone or FaceTime, the younger von Furstenberg described her as “a mom and a best friend.” The 21-year-old NYU senior said that she can always turn to the family’s namesake about all things TVF, as well as everything about life.

But the TVF founder tries not to ask advice about design elements and how everything looks, preferring to tap into von Furstenberg’s wisdom about going into the wholesale industry, direct-to-consumer, addressing the consumer and marketing. By doing so, the entrepreneur is trying to stay true to her own design instinct.

As for whether her designer heritage caused more pressure, von Furstenberg said, “It was definitely stressful because we were figuring out what the future of DVF and TVF would look like in the climate that is so different and the fashions keep changing. But we wanted to stick to the core message of creating for women in charge, and creating confident, happy and comfortable clothing. I think that still resonates today,” she said.

While people aren’t going out or socializing in large groups as much as they did before, which means they’re not dressing up as much either, von Furstenberg sees hints of positivity. “Fashion has become an even truer way of self expression. We’re dressing for ourselves — to make ourselves look happy, feel prettier and be more confident and we’re not showing anyone else. So we’re kind of allowed to be more free to express ourselves exactly how we want to and without thinking about trends, what other people will think and without judgment,” she said. “I’m interested to see how people’s individual styles will change in a few months and if it will be more diverse, because now people are so much more comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing.”

Originally slated to debut in May, the collection was designed “with a much different kind of summer in mind,” said von Furstenberg. While COVID-19 squelched travel plans for many members of the fashion flock, the designer said that her styles “make you want to make the most out of every moment no matter where you are, who you’re with or if this summer looks different from the others.”

The way von Furstenberg sees it, her 12-piece line of colorful dresses, rompers and tops “can bring a little bit of romance and escapism that we need right now.“ After two seasons of selling d-t-c keeping a close eye on e-commerce and her social media channels to see what customers wanted, the founder will sell exclusively to Net-a-porter for the first time this season.

During a recent month-long stay in Saint-Tropez with her boyfriend, von Furstenberg shot a campaign with society photographer and family friend Jean Pigozzi. Having doubled as a model on location at the lensman’s home, she said, “We ended up jumping into the pool with the dresses on, so that was kind of funny.”

After first studying fashion business at NYU, von Furstenberg said she is learning about the design side by shadowing the team at DVF, who have been willing to show and teach her everything. Reached in California Friday, the college senior said she plans to return to New York City in two weeks to take in-person and online classes.

Her mother, Alexandra von Furstenberg, is probably her biggest style inspiration. “Growing up, I would want everything in her closet — would want to try on everything that she bought,” von Furstenberg said. “I would want to have a fashion show in her closet with her. She’s definitely been a ‘bigggg’ source of inspiration.”

The emerging designer said that Zimmerman is one of her favorite labels since it suits her feminine style. Isabel Marant and Retrofit are other go-to brands. As for which TVF items are expected to ring up sales, von Furstenberg said transitional designs, like fall-friendly cardigans and bodysuits, should do well. All of the pieces are named after her favorite desserts, such as “the Blondie” and “the Macaroon.” With a “huge sweet tooth,” she loves baking.

As for whether anonymity is something that she wishes for, von Furstenberg said, “It’s obviously really hard when you have that background, because you have pre-existing notions, understanding and judgment. But people over the Internet can’t understand who you are. You can’t let those opinions and preconceived notions affect you because I have no control over what they think of me. When they actually meet me, that’s when I make my impression on them. If you have an impression of me and you haven’t met me, that’s not really fair for either party. I try not to let that affect me because it’s totally out of my control.”

Asked what people would be surprised to learn about the former CFDA leader, her granddaughter said, “She is very funny. She cracks me up. A lot of people think that she’s very serious, because she’s such an amazing person philanthropically and does so much and is serious in the fashion industry as well. But she has a very sweet, funny, sensitive side that people wouldn’t expect.”

Excited yet nervous about returning to Manhattan, knowing that the pandemic has changed the system’s rhythm, von Furstenberg said, “All my friends, who are there, are saying it still has the charisma, just in a different way. And it’s kind of strong together, so I’m excited for that.”

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