Diane von Furstenberg Talks Living & Loving Freely in ‘Woman in Charge’ Documentary

When Diane von Furstenberg’s signature wrap dresses first took off in 1974, they became an emblem of the modern woman’s promise of independence and poise as she traversed the newly competing worlds of family life and the workplace. Behind the scenes, the designer was herself fulfilling that promise—having, as she says in the trailer for a new documentary, “a man’s life in a woman’s body.” In Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge, the 77-year-old looks back on her prolific career and somehow even more eventful personal life to tell a staunchly feminist story of perseverance and changing social mores with the evolving language of fashion as a throughline.

Born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1946, DVF’s story began as World War II ended. As she notes in the documentary, though she is best known for the frocks that made her famous, most people don’t know that her mother narrowly escaped death at Auschwitz. That story of survival propelled DVF into the nonstop pursuit of a life worth living, which included marrying a German prince, Egon von Furstenberg, at 22, despite his family’s hesitations. The pair moved to New York City and joined the Studio 54 circuit, becoming an It couple on the scene in an age of sexual freedom and promiscuity (in the doc, DVF recalls a proposed threesome with David Bowie and Mick Jagger). Egon and DVF later divorced, making her a single mother to two children just as her career as a fashion designer was exploding. In Woman in Charge, which will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival’s opening night on June 5 before landing on Hulu on June 25, Von Furstenberg reflects on these challenges and more—including battling cancer, Egon’s untimely passing from AIDS, and the highs and lows of running a business empire in a male-dominated field—and speaks to the ethos of female empowerment that has guided her all her life. Later in life, as Von Furstenberg focused on philanthropy, she took that message to women and girls worldwide, using her story as an example of the power of resourcefulness, individuality, and hope against obstacles.

Watch the trailer for Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge, below:

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