The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Diane Von Furstenberg

b. December 31, 1946

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Diane Von Furstenberg until we are able to commission a full entry.

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Photo taken by David Shankbone.

Designer Diane von Furstenberg made her mark on the fashion world in 1974 with the invention of the wrap dress. Born Diane Halfin, the child of a Holocaust survivor, she studied economics at the University of Geneva and apprenticed under textile manufacturer Angelo Feretti in Paris. She first achieved international fame in 1969 when she married a German prince, Egon von Furstenberg (the couple divorced in 1972), then launched her fashion design company in 1970. Her invention of the knit jersey wrap dress in 1974 was a wild success, and she graced the cover of Newsweek in 1976, billed as “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel.” In a cheeky nod to women’s independence, one early marketing campaign pointed out that the zipless wrap dress enabled a woman to get dressed and leave a man’s apartment without waking him if she had second thoughts the morning after. After financial setbacks in the late 1980s, Von Furstenberg re-launched her company’s perfume, jewelry, and clothing lines in 1997 as DVF. She became president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2006, and also serves as director of the Diller-Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which supports causes ranging from public parks to women’s health.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Diane Von Furstenberg." (Viewed on September 22, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/von-furstenberg-diane>.

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