The Wall Street Journal’s Deborah Kan speaks to fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg about why she believes Chinese women are stronger, empowering women, and DVF´s non-consideration of retiring. Here are my favourite excerpts:
DK: What does the Chinese woman symbolize to you?
What I like about women is always strength, but Chinese women are even stronger. It’s like strong women on steroids. I also realize they are fragile. All women are the same really: They are strong, but they are afraid of their own strength.
DK: You talk a lot about empowering women. What do you mean by that?
I think all women are strong, but sometimes a father, a brother, a religion, a lifestyle, or sometimes on their own—you don’t want to show your strength. And then, sometimes, a tragedy happens, and miraculously the strength of a woman always comes out. So let it come out before tragedies, you know?
I think what I love in women is their strength, their real strength that is from within. What I think I sell with my clothes is confidence, so hopefully all my dresses, my accessories, are friends to the women. When you open the closet, and your eyes are swollen, and you don’t like the way you look, you go to your friends.
DK: You have now had this fashion empire for decades. What’s your advice to women who are trying to build something of their own?
The best trick is never to blame everything or everyone else. Whatever happens, you’ve got to deal with it. You process it and go on.
DK: Who has been your best role model?
My mother was my role model, because she was an example of strength. Before I was born, she was a prisoner of war in Germany. She went to the death camps and survived. She weighed 49 pounds, so she wasn’t supposed to survive. She always told me that God made her survive so that she could give me life. So my birth was a miracle, and therefore I carry her flag.
Would you ever consider retiring?
I think I will be DVF till the end. I don’t want to retire from life. I am too engaged, I am too curious, too interested, and I still think I can make an impact. And in this part of my life, I want to make an impact.
Interview and interview transcription by Deborah Kan
Image Courtesy by Chinese artist Zhang Huan