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Diane Von Furstenberg as a young girl in Belgium.

Women @ Work

‘She taught me that fear is not an option’

By WITW Staff on February 20, 2018

“I wasn’t sure — when I started — what I really wanted to do. But I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be: I wanted to be empowered, I wanted to be a woman in charge,” Diane Von Furstenberg tells Tina Brown in the latest episode of Women @ Work. Von Furstenberg, who has been a frequent guest at Women in the World events over the years, discussed a number of aspects that led to her remarkable career — including having designed the iconic wrap dress 43 years ago — that has turned her into a champion for women and gender equality.

“It’s not like I sat there and said, ‘Ooh, I want empower women,” she recalls “No. First, I wanted to empower myself. And I did … and I did it through a dress,” the founder and chairperson of DVF Studio told Brown.

“That dress became the symbol … not just about my empowerment, but it became the symbol of liberation for women.”

The fashion icon also reflects on her childhood — she was born and raised in Belgium — and talks about how her mother, who survived a concentration camp during the Second World War, was a “tiger mom” who would lock her in the closet to help her overcome her fear of the dark. “She was that kind of a mother, but she taught me that fear is not an option.” Von Furstenberg also reveals why she “did not like the way I looked at all” when she was a young girl. She also discusses what motivated her to embark on establishing a successful career and shares some advice for millennial women, particularly what she says is the most important relationship they should focus on.

Watch the full interview with Von Furstenberg above, and for the rest of the videos in the series, click here.

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