Janel Dyan

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#WCIW: Diane von Furstenberg

Revolutionary Designer. Legendary Business Woman. Woman Empowerment Activist.

Diane von Furstenberg entered the world of fashion in 1970 when she moved to New York. The Belgian born designer quickly established her brand, DVF, by creating the legendary wrap dress. Over the past 40 years, Diane’s dresses have continued to be a staple in a woman’s closet as it works on every kind of body type and instantly makes a woman feel stylish and ready for any occasion. It is a dress that has been worn by thousands of women - making her a powerhouse in the fashion industry. The woman herself has lead a remarkable life—from being married and then divorced to a powerful, German nobleman and her legendary nights at Studio 54, to the rise, fall, and reascent of her business—she has taken on every success and challenge with poise, grace, and style. 

What’s just as impressive is that she is a dedicated philanthropist and mentor, seeking to empower female leaders and entrepreneurs around the globe. In 2010, Diane and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation established the Diane von Furstenberg Awards, which serves to “recognize and support extraordinary women who are dedicated to transforming the lives of other women; women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive, and the leadership to inspire.” Every year the five winners receive a $50,000 grant for their non-profit organizations and are honored at the United Nations as a part of The Women in the World Conference. Past winners include: Dr. Jane Goodall, Karlie Kloss, Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey.

In 2016, Diane appointed Jonathan Saunders, as the Chief Creative Officer of the Diane Von Furstenberg Studio. As she shifts into her “third and last act” of her career, she now focuses on projects that promote women empowerment in fashion and philanthropy, such as her annual DVF awards. ”What I want to spend my time on is using my voice and connecting the voices of other people to help the people who have no voices.” Diane is driven to use her brand to bring light to women who are making a difference and serves on the board of Vital Voices, a non-governmental organization that supports female leaders and entrepreneurs around the world. “When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.”

For her revolutionary wrap-dress, legendary business leadership, and her woman-empowerment activism, Diane von Furstenberg is this week’s #WCIW. To learn more about the DVF Awards, please visit dvf.com/dvf-awards/.

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