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Must-Know Career Advice From DVF

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    Photo courtesy of DVF Studios, LLC. Photograph by Thomas Whiteside.

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    Diane von Furstenberg's new memoir is called The Woman I Wanted To Be, which is brilliant, because who wouldn't want to be Diane von Furstenberg? She launched her own successful business when she was only in her 20s — and, in 1974, helped usher in women's lib and sexual freedom with her figure-clinging jersey wrap dress. Though she lost her business in her 30s, she launched a massive comeback in her 50s. And, she continues to innovate and inspire in her 60s — collaborating with Google Glass, heading the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and mentoring young fashion hopefuls in her new reality TV series on E!, House of DVF. Even Kate Moss, according to von Furstenberg's book, once admitted to the designer, "I want to be you when I grow up." (Us too, Kate. Us, too.)

    So, what makes von Furstenberg tick? We took a tour of her jaw-droppingly gorgeous personal workspace in New York's Meatpacking District and asked her about her beginnings, inspirations, career advice, and how she manages running one of the biggest independent fashion brands in the world. Get the story ahead, and see more of DVF and her office on House of DVF, Sundays at 10 p.m. EST.


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  2. For Diane von Furstenberg's current live-and-work space, architecture firm Work AC reconverted two historic brick townhouses in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, adding a diamond skylight that cuts diagonally through the building. Photographed by David Cortes.

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    You moved into your new offices in 2008, but you've actually lived and worked in Manhattan's Meatpacking District for almost 20 years — first in a carriage house on West 12th Street and now in a new space a few blocks north, on Washington Street. What do you love about the area?
    "I remember when I first moved my office here, my son thought I was crazy, but it has everything that is great about New York: the energy, the grit. I have loved watching it evolve. The High Line has made an incredible impact and is like a magical park in the sky. It is so close to all of the galleries, so there is incredible art…and with the Whitney coming soon, it is really an incredible place to live and work."

  3. Von Furstenberg's vibrant pink and leopard-print office shows her love of pattern and color. The portrait on the back wall was painted by Zhang Huan in 2011. Photographed by David Cortes.

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    Your office is so iconic: It perfectly encapsulates the DVF attitude. How do you go about creating that environment?
    "My office is filled with things I love: beautiful photos of people I love, beautiful things I have collected from all over the world, beautiful art my friends have created. If you surround yourself with things you love and that reflect who you are, then everything will make sense."

    What is your most cherished item in your office?
    "My desk. It was a gift from my father."

  4. Von Furstenberg's office is filled with her friends' artwork, including "Sunshine of the Heart," which is hanging on the wall, painted by Anh Duong in 2011. Photographed by David Cortes.

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    What is your work style like?
    "Creative…but as much as I love to imagine, I love to make things happen."

    That's an understatement — in addition to running a business and putting out multiple collections a year, you recently published a memoir. We love the title: The Woman I Wanted to Be. What kind of woman did you want to be as a young girl?
    "I knew that I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be the kind of woman who could pay her own bills and make things happen on her own terms. Even when I was first married — to a prince, nonetheless — I was determined to have a career of my own and to have my own identity. That decision was very important, and it led to my becoming that woman earlier than I expected. We moved to America, and I sold my dresses and invented the wrap dress — it was very successful very fast, which made me very successful. It felt like I was living the American dream."

  5. Salvador Dali's surreal lips sofa echoes one of the DVF label's most beloved motifs. Tables designed by Alexandra von Furstenberg and a portrait by von Furstenberg's friend Takashi Murakami give this nook an intimate feel. Photographed by David Cortes.

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    Were you interested in clothing growing up?
    "As a young girl, I wasn’t really interested in fashion, but I was interested in being a grown-up, and I think fashion had a lot to do with that. By the time I had gone through boarding school, and when I was 20 and working in Paris, I had come to love fashion and use it as a way to express myself."

  6. The Wrap Shop model at DVF’s headquarters. Photographed by David Cortes.

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    You've said that the wrap dress started as a top inspired by a ballerina sweater. Once you translated that concept to a dress, why do you think it became such an impactful piece of clothing for the modern woman?
    "It looked like nothing on the rack, but when a woman put it on, something extraordinary happened. ...I didn’t really think of it as filling a void at the time, but that is exactly what it did. Everything in fashion was so complicated then; there were couture dresses that were beautiful to look at but that you could hardly move in. I wanted to design dresses that I could wear anywhere, and once I found that fabric — the silk jersey that was so flattering and so easy to wear — I knew I had found something great."