Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped

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A sweeping biography of one of the most influential and controversial legends of late twentieth-century fashion, an iconic designer whose colorful creations, including the “wrap dress,” captured the modern feminist spirit.

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor and wife of an Austrian nobleman, Diane von Furstenberg burst onto New York’s fashion scene in 1969, and within a few years became an international sensation with her colorful wrap dress in printed jersey. Embraced by millions of American women of all ages, sizes, and shapes, the dress became a cult object and symbol of women’s liberation, tied inexorably to the image of youth, independence, and sex Diane herself projected.

In this masterful biography, Gioia Diliberto brings Diane’s extraordinary life into focus, from her post-World-War-II childhood in Belgium, through her rise to the top of the fashion world during the decadent seventies and glamorous go-go eighties, to her humiliating failures both professional and personal, and her remarkable comeback in the nineties. Like Coco Chanel, Diane has always been her own best advertisement. Morphing from a frizzy brunette outsider in a sea of sleek blondes to a stunning pop cultural icon, she embodied the brand she created—“the DVF woman,” a model of self-sufficiency, sensuality, and confidence.

Diliberto’s captivating, balanced portrait, based on scores of interviews with Diane’s family, friends, lovers, employees, and the designer herself, explores von Furstenberg’s relationships with her husbands and lovers, and illuminates fashion’s evolution from rare luxury to marketing monster and the development of a uniquely American style. Lively and insightful, the book also explores the larger world of the nation’s elite, where fashion, culture, society, politics, and Hollywood collide. Diane von Furstenberg is a modern fable of self-invention, fame, wealth, failure, and success that mirrors late-twentieth century America itself.

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About the author

Gioia Diliberto is a journalist, biographer, and novelist. She is the author of the biographies Paris without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife, A Useful Woman: The Early Life of Jane Addams, and Debutante: The Story of Brenda Frazier and the novels I Am Madame X and The Collection. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, and Vanity Fair, and she is a visiting lecturer in writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design and DePaul University. She lives in Chicago.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Jul 7, 2015
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780062041234
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book is part of Hyperink's best little books series. This best little book is 4,200+ words of fast, entertaining information on a highly demanded topic. Based on reader feedback (including yours!), we may expand this book in the future. If we do so, we'll send a free copy to all previous buyers.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Diane von Furstenberg is a one of the best-known fashion designers in the world and is the woman behind the iconic wrap dress. The Belgian-born designer was a jet-setting princess for a short time thanks to her marriage to Austro-Italian prince Egon von Furstenberg, though she became a household name due to her famous wrap dress among the many other creations to come from her house of design. It is she, not the prince, who is credited with making the Furstenberg name known to the world. In addition to her fashion empire, Furstenberg has written books, was a well-known ‘70s socialite, works tirelessly as a philanthropist, remains a proud mother of her two children, and is frequently sought after as a fashion and entrepreneurial expert.

Furstenberg’s first husband Prince Egon was the heir to the Fiat automobile fortune and son of Prince Tassilo von Furstenberg (1903-1989) and first wife Clara Agnelli (born 1920). Agnelli is the sister of Italian industrialist and former head of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli (1921-2003). Furstenberg and the prince had two children together, a son and a daughter.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kent Page McGroarty is a freelance writer. She is a frequent lifestyle contributor to online magazine EDGE Publications and Demand Media sites LIVESTRONG.com, eHow Home and Garden and Local.com. She has a B.A. in English from Saint Joseph's University.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Furstenberg initially caught the public’s eye thanks to her marriage to Prince Egon, but her fame grew exponentially due to her best-selling wrap dress, which was synonymous with the tag line “Feel like a woman. Wear a dress.” Furstenberg’s many accomplishments and awards include five million of her jersey wrap dresses sold in 1976, which landed her on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. The latter magazine celebrated her as the most “marketable designer since Coco Chanel” and named her the newest icon of the female liberation movement. Though trousers were popular with women in the 1970s as a way of empowering women, Furstenberg’s dresses and approach to feminism blended the beauty of femininity with the ambition and drive to compete in a man’s world.

Furstenberg took a break from fashion in 1985 and moved to Paris, though she re-emerged in 1991 with Silk Assets, a collection available only through a home-shopping network. Furstenberg has been called a “pioneer” in the world of home shopping, with her first collection selling out in less than two hours. She re-launched her line in 1997, causing a whole new generation of women to fall in love with her wrap dress. Furstenberg went on to create her own fashion empire, though her original fashion boutique can still be found in New York’s trendy meatpacking district...

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The compelling story behind a fascinating Australian legend - fashion designer Carla Zampatti.

Carla Zampatti is an enduring Australian fashion icon. In 2015, in a remarkable feat of longevity, she celebrated the 50th anniversary of her fashion house in Australia. And despite the fact that so many of us have grown up with Carla Zampatti - loving, coveting and wearing her elegant, beautiful designs - very few of us know the private woman behind the brand. And yet it is a compelling, fascinating and ultimately moving story of one woman's determination, ambition, resilience and dreams.

Carla was only five when her mother took her to visit the dressmaker in her local small town in Lombardy, Italy. It was then, in a sudden flash of inspiration, that she knew she would become a fashion designer. She was a feisty little girl who had two older brothers - she would run after them up the mountains on their adventures, while they called to her, 'Dai, Carla, e possible farlo,' come on Carla, you can do it! And she never lost that spirit of determination, even when, as an eight-year-old with no English, her family moved across the world to a tiny speck of a town in Western Australia, a place where her dreams of becoming a designer seemed almost out of reach...

A household name, a true Australian legend, and an inspiring woman - this is Carla Zampatti, and this is her story.

‘It was Zampatti's enormous drive, flair and independence of mind that enabled her to become one of Australia's top fashion designers. In a market saturated with mediocre celebrity autobiographies, it's refreshing to find one that is well-written and down to earth' Sydney Morning Herald

'Carla's story is one of drive and determination, and well worth reading' Brisbane News

'From Australia's fashion iconoclast, you won't be able to put this tale of ambition down' Cosmopolitan

A fascinating read of personal experiences from the famed fashion designer that showcases the lives and contributions of iconic women -- from Jackie Kennedy to Elizabeth Taylor to Laura Bush to Princess Diana

Arnold Scaasi has been dressing legends for almost five decades. His enduring tenure as one of the world's premier fashion designers and tastemakers has afforded him vast stores of insider knowledge and firsthand perspectives on an array of illustrious personalities who -- in their disparate arenas of high-wattage celebrity and influence -- have defined our contemporary notions of female power and glamour. Here, for the first time, Scaasi invites readers into his glittering A-list realm as he recounts his intimate experiences and interactions with larger-than-life female icons who made their mark in spheres as varied as politics, Hollywood, the music industry, and high society.

Scaasi devotes each chapter to a specific woman or to a group of women, including "Broadway Girls," "New York Girls," and "Hollywood Girls." He shares dozens of behind-closed-doors anecdotes exploring what makes these women tick. In candid prose, he recalls what they said and how they acted, and most important, offers keen observations of who they really are underneath his creations. Using a privileged entrée into their private and public lives, Scaasi takes the measure of their impact on the world at large.

Here, readers will discover: Joan Crawford's fetish for cleanliness; the dazzling Barbra Streisand's famous Oscar night outfit and her obsession with perfection; Mamie Eisenhower's staunch refusal to wear a bra; the bountiful charms of Joan Sutherland, the opera legend; Mary Tyler Moore's and Sophia Loren's unique glamour; Rose Kennedy's prediction of a future woman president; Aretha Franklin's fear of flying; Scaasi's visits to the White House to his good friend and client Barbara Bush; his confrontations with Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe; and much more!

Scaasi dresses only women he genuinely likes, so his tales are never mean-spirited. Instead they spotlight the designer's surprising interactions and often poignant perceptions of Eleanor Roosevelt, Joan Rivers, Louise Nevelson, Natalie Wood, Hillary Clinton, and many others. The book is filled with photographs from the author's personal scrapbooks and fond recollections of some of the world's most beautiful, accomplished, and powerful women.

Women I Have Dressed (and Undressed!) is a trove of irresistible insider dish and a tender, humorous memoir of the most influential women of our time.
 Karen Floan was raised by her Grandparents; Julius and Evanell in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota where she was born. Her grandparents were both Anishinabeg and were born on Indian reservations in Northern Minnesota and spoke their native language of Ojibwe until they were sent to Mission School where they learned the English language. Karen's Grandmother, loving referred to by Karen as Gram, worked as an upholsterer and her Grandfather, she called Papa, worked as a moving man. They both worked very hard every day of their lives to provide the basics for their family. Karen recalls her Papa had a good friend and his name was Pemberton and Papa called him Pem. Karen has fond memories of her Papa and Pemberton, who was also an Anishinabe, enjoying a cup of coffee sitting at the kitchen table, laughing and enjoying each other's company. Karen would often sit and listen intently to them speak in their native language as they laughed and reminisced. Karen's Gram also was Anishinabe and she too would speak Ojibwe when her sisters came to visit. Karen never forgot Pemberton and was fascinated with his unique name, which left an indelible impression on her. So much so that when she was married she intended on naming her first born, Pemberton. As it turned out Karen never had children. When Karen began writing this story it was a no brainer she wanted to give her main character in her story that distinctive and fascinating name. Whenever she thought about Pemberton it always took her back to growing up with her grandparents in their rented duplex in South Minneapolis where they both provided her with unconditional love and everything that embodied. Karen dedicated her story to those two people that made her the person she is today.
The life of Virginie Gautreau, the notorious beauty of Madame X, John Singer Sargent's most famous and scandalous portrait, provides inspiration for this absorbing and intriguing novel.
Madame X caused an immediate furor when Sargent unveiled it at the 1884 Paris Salon. The subject's bold pose, provocative dress, and decadent pallor shocked the public, and the critics panned the picture, smashing Sargent's dream of a Paris career. The artist soon relocated to England, where he established himself as the favorite portrait painter of the wealthy.
In this remarkable novel, Gioia Diliberto tells Virginie's story, drawing on the sketchy facts of Virginie's life to re-create her tempestuous personality and the captivating milieu of nineteenth-century Paris. Born in New Orleans to two of Louisiana's prominent Creole families and raised at Parlange, her grandmother's lush plantation, Virginie fled to France with her mother and sister during the Civil War. The family settled in Paris among other expatriate Southerners and hoped, through their French ancestry, to insinuate themselves into high society. They soon were absorbed into the fascinating and wealthy world of grand ballrooms, dressmakers' salons, luxurious country estates, and artists' ateliers. Because of Virginie's striking appearance and vivid character, her mother pinned the family's hopes for social acceptance on her daughter, who became a "professional beauty" and married a French banker. Even before Sargent painted her portrait, Virginie's reputation for promiscuity and showy self-display made her the subject of vicious Paris gossip.
I Am Madame X is a compulsively readable immersion in Belle Epoque Paris. It is also the story of a great work of art, illuminating the struggle between Virginie and Sargent as they fought to control the outcome of a painting that changed their lives and affected the course of art history.
A thrilling page-turner that also happens to be the biography of one of Russia's most controversial figures

This is how Emmanuel Carrère, the magnetic journalist, novelist, filmmaker, and chameleon, describes his subject: "Limonov is not a fictional character. There. I know him. He has been a young punk in Ukraine, the idol of the Soviet underground; a bum, then a multimillionaire's butler in Manhattan; a fashionable writer in Paris; a lost soldier in the Balkans; and now, in the fantastic shambles of postcommunism, the elderly but charismatic leader of a party of young desperadoes. He sees himself as a hero; you might call him a scumbag: I suspend my judgment on the matter. It's a dangerous life, an ambiguous life: a real adventure novel. It is also, I believe, a life that says something. Not just about him, Limonov, not just about Russia, but about all our history since the end of the Second World War."
So Eduard Limonov isn't fictional—but he might as well be. This pseudobiography isn't a novel, but it reads like one: from Limonov's grim childhood to his desperate, comical, ultimately successful attempts to gain the respect of Russia's literary intellectual elite; to his immigration to New York, then to Paris; to his return to the motherland. Limonov could be read as a charming picaresque. But it could also be read as a troubling counternarrative of the second half of the twentieth century, one that reveals a violence, an anarchy, a brutality, that the stories we tell ourselves about progress tend to conceal.

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