Designer, fashion icon and creator of the legendary wrap dress, Diane von Furstenberg brought her talents to Harvard Business School Tuesday, March 8. As the keynote speaker for MGH Harris Center's 14th Annual Forum, von Furstenberg discussed the importance of health and self confidence within the fashion industry alongside Dr. Davis B. Herzog, the Center's director and renowned psychology professor at Harvard. Celebrating International Women's Day, von Furstenberg emphasized that beauty isn't found in perfection, but derived from our imperfections.
The Burden Auditorium at Harvard Business School filled up quickly with fashionistas, business students getting their notepads ready and diehard fans like myself. At the sign in desk, I was handed a DVF Newbury St. coupon, DVF luggage tags and a small informational booklet about the MGH Harris Center for Eating Disorders and DVF's background. Last year, the event was hosted by Dr. Herzog helped along by noted fashion designer Michael Kors, international supermodel Natalia Vodianova and notorious Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Sound like a tough act to follow? I thought so too. But the second von Furstenberg took the stage, I forgot about last year's forum as was lost in her words. Born into the world a miracle, Diane von Furstenberg will someday leave as a legend.
Prior to speaking about women's confidence and self image, von Furstenberg told the audience that she once knew a women whom at the youthful age of twenty, weighed only forty nine pounds. As the story progressed, we were told how the woman was a Hollocaust survivor that was stationed Auschwitz in Poland. When she was released, the young woman slowly gained back her weight and married her fiance. Although she had bounced back from a terrible fate, she was specifically instructed by doctors not to have children for the next five years because the both child and her wouldn't survive. But the next thing you know, eighteen months later, a super star was born, and she goes by the name of Diane von Furstenberg.
The miraculous story of her mother took everyone by surprise. Diane von Furstenberg proved doctors wrong and came into this world to make a difference. The ups and downs of her personal life and career were the main subjects of her talk and she was surprisingly humorous. von Furstenberg discussed the hardships she went through; sitting alone and pregnant in a cold, empty factoring sewing clothes, selling her company to make money and getting rejected by various department stores. Looking back, she told the audience she doesn't have a single regret. Diane von Furstenberg said that hardships are like souvenirs from the past that are laughed about in the future. Equipped with a positive attitude and an eye for style, DVF made a fortune for herself.
But the highlight of my night was meeting Ms. von Furstenberg and getting a picture. My lifelong best friend, Kristen, and I were eagerly awaiting the event since last year's. We're both fashion junkies and love attending the Harris Center forums. As we got up to leave, my mother insisted we try to get a picture with Diane von Furstenberg and we got extremely lucky! I've never been more excited in my entire life and I know Kristen was just as enthusiastic.
DVF's iconic clothing and positive attitude completely won over my heart. Not only is she one of the most famous designers in the world today, but she and her husband plan to donate half of their earnings to charity when they pass away. An extraordinary woman like Diane von Furstenberg is hard to find nowadays. She's an original, beautiful, positive and talented woman who will always be remembered for all of the good she's done and all of the fashion she's created.