Feel Like a Woman, Wear a Dress (and read a book)

Once upon a time the daughter of refugees became a princess, divorced her prince and evolved as the queen of fashionable, independent living.  Wishing Diane von Furstenberg a happy birthday and openly confessing that obsessed as I am with that singular dress, I’m just as committed to collecting the books birthed by her life and the empire she built.

The Woman I Wanted to Be

The accompanying book to the retrospective in 2014, Diane takes another look back at her journey. This time, on the other side of her famous comeback, she explores the influences and choices, good and bad, that brought her back to the forefront of fashion. A nice companion to Diane: A Signature Life, she has a different perspective of a road she has travelled without a map that produced a definitive life and style. As she honestly says-she did not know what she wanted to do, but she did know the woman she wanted to be. Just as the wrap dress has become a symbol of fearless femininity, that honest statement could be an anthem for any woman not sure of the how, but confident there is a what to accomplish in life.

Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped

For such a public figure, it’s surprising how well DVF has managed to control her narrative. She is the author of her own biographies, so this is one of the few books written by someone else, that delves into her life and empire. Well-researched, this is a look at the woman and the brand as a part of the fashion and feminine vernacular. Diane has always been the best model of her brand: the self-sufficient and confident woman, and Dilberto offers a wonderful look at how this fully-realized woman, who experienced personal and professional highs and lows, became the epitome of the  modern American feminist ideal.

DVF: The Journey of a Dress

A pictorial published to coincide with DVF’s 40th anniversary, this book is the piece de resistance for the DVF fan and fashion historian. From the 3 samples she brought to Vogue editor Diane Vreeland to pictures of the dress worn by myriad of modern women, this book looks at the prints, the campaigns and photographs of the little dress that provided so many women such fashion freedom.

Diane von Furstenberg and the Tale of the Empress’s New Clothes

Fashion writer Camilla Morton spins a fabulous fashion tale in her innovative Fashion Fairy Tale Series. Diane is a perfect fit since “there once was a princess that had an idea. That idea was a dress”.  Diane leads the Empress on a journey to see the inspiration of personal style.

Diane: A Signature Life

The true definitive biography by Diane about her life is a great read. Originally published in 1998 just as she was embarking on her infamous comeback, she retells the story of her childhood, her early marriage, life as a jet-set princess and the infancy of that dress. This is the book to read if you are an enterprising woman, as she reveals the grit behind the glamour and tells how she rose to fame and lost it all, while learning the hard lessons of life and finding her true self.

DVF: The Wrap

Written by my favorite fashion aficionado, Andre Leon Talley, this book explores the history of the actual dress as an iconic item. Placing the dress and its designer squarely in the pantheon of consequential women designers with Chanel and Schiaparelli, witness the powerful images that revolutionized the 70’s, but continue to translate for the modern American woman.

Extra Credit for the Diane-obsessed 

If you really consider yourself a collector  (my hand is raised), finding these vintage books by Diane is like scoring the original ‘link’ print worn in that infamous  1972 Roger Prigent photograph.

Diane’s Book of Beauty

Always ahead of her time, DVF precedes the health and fitness craze of the 80’s with this guide to becoming a more beautiful and sensual woman. Published in the late 70’s, even then women wanted to attain that confident, independent persona that Diane represented. Reading this book now, so many of the tips are still relevant and a testament of Diane’s timeless appeal and wisdom.

The Table

Diane opens the doors into the homes of her friends and associates and allows us entry into the way they live and entertain. With tablescapes galore, more than 175 photos let you be a fly on the wall of the many dinner parties and social soirees that happened amongst the jet set.

The Bath

Diane explores the history and rituals of our most personal intimate time. From the bathhouses of Greece to your personal inner sanctum, see how rejuvenating and restorative the power of water and hygiene plays toward her mental and physical balance. Full of beautiful photography, this book will make you slow down and put more care into your body and health.

Beds

Diane calls this her inspirational decorating book. Travel the world with color photographs of bedrooms in villas, apartments and lofts near and far. Consider it a foray into the history of luxury design.