Backstage with Diane von Furstenberg at New York Fashion Week
When it comes to American fashion, few designers wield as much influence as Diane von Furstenberg. Most famous for the often duplicated wrap-dress style she introduced in the 1970's, she's built her reputation on a dedication to young designers (she's chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America), her support for women (her docu-series, "House of DVF," gives women a chance to compete for a role in her company) and, naturally, her unique sartorial taste.
CNN Style caught up with von Furstenberg before her star-studded Spring-Summer 2016 show (Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss would all take to the runway) to talk stress, inspiration, and why women should never, ever doubt themselves.
CNN: Your Spring-Summer 2016 collection is inspired by the first painting you ever bought. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Diane von Furstenberg: It's all about celebrating freedom, beauty and nature. And, as a matter of fact, this will be my quote. Right now we are writing it: It's celebrating truth, nature and freedom, she redefines beauty and paints her own destiny."
So, that's your overarching theme incorporated into your entire spring look?
Yeah, so the collection is poetic and mythical. It's the idea of a woman painting on a canvas of white her own destiny.
How do you de-stress prior to a show? Do you even get nervous?
Yeah! Well, you're very nervous a week before and a day before. You have 800 samples basically or 500 samples for your line, but only about 38 or 40 make it. And according to how you change things around, it could be beautiful or a disaster.
What do you want people to feel when they leave your show?
I want them to feel happy and I want the girls to feel like the women they want to be.
So what next? Do you go on vacation after a show?
No, no. I went on vacation before this. I'm finished!
You've achieved so much, from your own label and a CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award to an exhibition dedicated to your work at LACMA. What would you say though is your greatest accomplishment to date?
My children. My children and my grandchildren. Another one is that I've been able to ... I didn't know when I was growing up what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to be and I became that woman. So, as I was becoming more confident, I gave more confidence to other women with my dresses and design clothes.
What would you say is a simple piece of advice you'd give to someone in the fashion industry who's feeling discouraged?
Well, I would say that if you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Is there person or celebrity that wears DVF perfectly?
No! I always love when women wear my clothes. Each one wears them differently.