Diane Von Furstenberg On Wrinkles & Wrap Dresses At Tribeca Festival

The iconic creator of the wrap dress – which turns 50 this year — Diane von Furstenberg early on in a new doc about her tumultuous, inspiring life, loves and career, strokes her face insisting she loves her wrinkles. “Don’t ask me how old I am. Ask me how long I’ve lived.” In a Q&A with Gayle King after the world premiere of Diane von Furstenberg: Woman In Charge, she had a change of heart.

“I look like sh-t. I mean I say I said I like wrinkles, but I hadn’t seen I had so many,” she said.

“But I like what you said …. because you said you said aging is living,” King protested.

“I know, I like what I said too.”

At 76, DVF, also early on in the film, hops nimbly onto the edge of her sink and balances there cross-legged facing the mirror to apply her makeup. King marveled at how limber she is. “I do climb into my sink. Why? Because I can see closer, in the mirror. I mean, you know, I don’t know. I can’t justify it.”

Mirrors are a theme throughout the doc, directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Trish Dalton, as the strikingly beautiful Belgian-born creative sets out to find success and independence.

“I think, actually, I was in charge since I was five years old. My mother had a big mirror, a vanity, and I use to stare at the mirror … but not because I thought I looked good, but because I’d get strength. Because I realized that if I made a move, the girl in the mirror made a move. And for whatever reason, that has been my strength.”

Her mother was a key presence in DVF’s life and very present in the doc. She survived Auschwitz as a young woman, weighing 44 pounds when she was liberated. Von Furstenberg called the film “a tribute to that young girl, who was 21 years old, who refused to believe that she was going to die. And she didn’t die, she did survive. And she had a daughter. And she wanted that daughter to have a big life. And that’s why I had a big life.”

Big was marrying her boyfriend, German prince Egon von Furstenberg, after becoming pregnant, moving to New York, having two children in quick succession, started a company, designing the wrap dress in her 20s and becoming extremely wealthy. She divorced Egon, who later died of AIDS. Sales eventually cooled, she was a bit lost and bounced between relationships from Hollywood mogul Barry Diller to a beach romance in Bali to a French writer, and eventually back to Diller whom she married in 2001. He’s a big part of the film, shown on a boat, pattering around the house, arguing over photos in an album – “That’s the restaurant where we met. No Barry, that’s my office.”

The portrait includes interviews with friends Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz and others.

Emerging from a slump, Von Furstenberg went down-market on QVC, which Diller acquired, to relaunch her career, was immensely successful and back in business, ultimately making wrap dresses a staple again for a younger generation. Along the way, she supported women’s causes and women themselves, including the DVF Awards, an annual event created in 2010 to honor and support women who are dedicated to transforming the lives of other women.

“I am very aware of everything because I spend a lot of time speaking about myself. My son would agree with that,” she said at the Q&A. “I do my own therapy. I have never been to a therapist. I do not read self-help books. I do my own thinking, because the most important relationship you have is the relationship you have with yourself.”

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