29/10/2014 08:31 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Diane Von Furstenberg On Love, Beauty And Empowerment In The Woman I Wanted To Be

Diane Von Furstenberg, one of the most influential fashion designers of our time, has lived an extraordinary life.


42 years after she launched the DVF label, the Belgium-born designer has chronicled her journey from a young girl living in Brussels to the leader of an international business empire and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

The Woman I Wanted To Be is a unique and interesting story, but the book is also packed with inspiring words of wisdom from the famous author.

Here are just a few of the things we learned:

On love
Love is life is love. There is no way to envision life without love, and at this point in my life, I don't think there is anything more important - love of family, love of nature, love of travel, love of learning, love of life in every way - all of it. Love is being thankful, love is paying attention, love is being open and compassionate. Love is using all the privileges you possess to help those who are in need. Love is giving voice to those who don't have one. Love is a way of feeling alive and respecting life.

On beauty
Counting too much on your appearance limits one's growth. Looks are fleeting and cannot be your only asset.

On learning from the past
Looking back, I can't help but think, what if? What if I'd never met Egon? Gotten pregnant? Felt driven to support myself after we married? What if I hadn't met Angelo Ferretti in Cortina or Diana Vreeland in New York or Halston or Giorgio Sant'Angelo? What if?

I've long believed that the "ifs" were the doors to my future, and I dared to open them, one by one, as they came along. I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be but I didn't know how I would become her. Opening those doors led me on a path to fashion, and that became the path to the woman I am today.


On career advice
When young people eager to start their own lives and careers ask me for advice I smile and always say: "Passion and persistence are what matter. Dreams are achievable and you can make your fantasy come try, but there are no shortcuts. Nothing happens without hard work."

On empowering women
More and more I was realizing from my conversations with women how many had insecurities. By listening to their insecurities and sharing my own, we all felt stronger. It was an authentic dialogue, a very even give and get. The stronger I became, the stronger I wanted others to be. I realize now that it was at that time, as I was feeling stronger, that my desire to empower women started, a desire that exists to this day, more and more.

On her secret to success
I also learned how critical it is for me to have time alone to recharge and strengthen that inner connection. It is easy to lose oneself when you are with people all the time. I need silence and solitude to create a buffer against the daily barrage of information and challenges.

40 years after she introduced the world to the wrap dress, von Furstenberg's label is stronger than ever. See her latest collection below: