MILAN — “This morning when I arrived at Malpensa I remembered the time when, more than 40 years ago I landed here, pregnant, to go to Angelo Ferretti’s factory in Como,” said Diane von Furstenberg, sitting in an armchair at the La Rinascente corner of her namesake brand. “They are so good and you cannot find them in New York,” explained the designer, snacking on roasted chestnuts.
Von Furstenberg, who perfectly speaks Italian in light of her strong personal and professional ties with the country, organized a trip to Milan and Rome to present the Italian translation of her autobiographic book “The woman I wanted to be.”
“I spent almost the whole summer in Italy on our boat, but it has been a while since the last time I came to Milan so I’ll spend the weekend here,” said von Furstenberg. “I love Italy, I had so many Italian men and so many crucial meetings of my life happened here.”
Her company’s new chief executive officer, Paolo Riva, is Italian as well. “It’s the first time I have a ceo and it’s the first time I met someone who truly understands the brand’s potential and values,” she said. “Now we have to reorganize everything, we have to find a new creative director, we have to rethink our wholesale distribution,” added von Furstenberg, revealing that an IPO is an option but this is not the right time.
Von Furstenberg looks happy to find a new place for herself in the world and to take a step back. “I always did what I wanted to do,” she said. “Now it’s time to focus on my biggest richness — my voice. When you are successful, two things happen: you become financially independent and you get a voice which you have to use to put the attention on social problems and projects.”
During the talk at the bookstore, the designer also pointed at her biggest mistake in her life. “The only thing which I’ve never done and I should have done is a business plan — I realized only a few days ago,” she said.
Asked about her opinion on Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, von Furstenberg, who always encouraged women to be free and independent in a world mostly ruled by men, said: “She is the top of the class, has two balls like this, is a woman of substance, is real, is honest, is ready to be president.”