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Diane von Furstenberg Wants You to Celebrate Female Energy

Diane von Furstenberg would like to offer you some advice. In her new book Own It: The Secret to Life, the fashion icon organizes the “many bits of knowledge” she has picked up in her nearly 50 years as a designer in an A-to-Z-format, with each word representing a personal experience, interaction, or piece of advice. On this International Women’s Day, von Furstenberg reflects on her new book, finding beauty in isolation, and celebrating female energy.


Own It: The Secret To Life contains so much sage advice—what’s the best advice you have ever received?

I have had a full life and, at this point, it’s important to use my voice, knowledge, experiences, and connections to help other women be who they want to be. I was very lucky to be able to be the woman I wanted to be. Therefore, I have accumulated many bits of knowledge and things I want to share. When the publisher asked me to do a book of advice, I said, “Okay.” The best advice I have received? My mother always said, “fear is not an option.” If I was afraid of the dog, she’d put me in a closet. She would probably get arrested today, but it was valuable. The only thing you have total control of is your character. You can lose your health and your wealth, but you never lose your character.

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How are you celebrating International Women’s Day?

It’s about honoring ourselves. But we have to be careful that we don’t push men out. So, I think we should celebrate female energy.

What is the DVF definition of female energy?

Strength. Women are so strong.

Who are your female heroes?

Anita Hill, Mother Teresa, Nancy Pelosi. The list goes on from there, so many women.

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I saw on Instagram that you were with RBG during her last public appearance. That must have been special.

Last year we gave the DVF Lifetime Award award to RBG. It was such a wonderful honor to meet her and to know her. After the ceremony, I sat next to her. She was so frail and so delicate, but her little hands were so strong. I will always remember that.

Own It: The Secret to Life

How are you staying busy during the pandemic?

I have a very good relationship with myself. I love being alone. The most important relationship in life is the one we have with ourselves. Once you have that, any other relationship is a plus and not a must. I’m very lucky, because I [am self-isolating in] a beautiful country house that I bought when I was… How old are you?

I’m 27.

…That I bought when I was around your age. It’s in the country, and it has a garden. If you have a garden, you’re so lucky. What has made me feel best [during the pandemic] is my garden. It’s the fact that I can just go [outside] and walk.

What are you growing?

Well, right now I’m growing snow. You don’t grow anything in the winter, but I have vegetables and apple trees. I also have goats.

What’s your go-to outfit in quarantine?

Like so many other people, I’m wearing a lot of sweatpants. Sometimes I try on my pre-pandemic dresses, and it’ll make me feel like things will be okay and normal again soon. Thank God for Zoom, because it forces me to wear makeup and to look pretty, at least on top.

No Zoom fatigue yet?

No. I am enjoying [getting dressed up].

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What else are you doing to stay busy?

I read Priyanka Chopra’s memoir, Unfinished. I love her, she’s adorable and her book is so honest. Now I’m reading a book about the history of Rome called Eternal Rome.

I used to live in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome. God, I miss it. Have you watched Stanley Tucci’s new show Searching for Italy?

Briefly. It’s quite good, he is doing a really good job. I love Trastevere. I hope you had an Italian boyfriend when you lived there.

Pochi de loro, a few!

Okay. Good, good.

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