Unfortunately, for the last few years America and our businesses have been struggling with a suffering economy. It’s times like these where business leaders look to companies who have survived economic hardship for inspiration.
Diane von Furstenberg is one of the most iconic women in fashion and has been throug
h hell and back with her company. Most people would not even know that DvF has gone through any hardship at all, and that to me, makes a great leader.
Diane von Furstenberg did not have a typical life. Born during the holocaust, her family overcame and Diane put her efforts into fashion. After marrying Prince Egon of Furstenberg, moving to New York City, having two children, and divorcing, Diane still managed to remain a household name within women’s fashion.
Diane is credited with creating “the wrap dress”, a silhouette so iconic that it’s on display at the Smithsonian Institute and the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The wrap dress and Diane von Furstenberg’s success skyrocketed in the 1970’s with every working woman wanting the easy to wear yet elegant Wrap Dress.
After some time had passed, too many wrap dresses were on the market and Diane von Furstenberg had to license away her company. Diane learned from her hardships and rebuilt her company. In 1997 Diane rejuvenated her company and by 2002 she broke even, turning a profit in the following year.
What’s the key to Diane’s success? Finding a niche and sticking to it. Diane has been quoted in saying "I am not interested in making children's clothes. I want little girls to want to grow up to wear the clothes. I do not want to do men's clothes. My mission in life, what I understand in life, is women. I wanted to be a certain kind of a woman. I became that kind of a woman."
In addition to being a mother, a successful business women, and an accomplished designer, Diane von Furstenberg is also the director of the philanthropic group The Diller- von Furstenberg Family Foundation: a non-profit organization that aids community building, education, human rights, arts, health and the environment.
Diane also sponsors The DvF Awards, which present four women each year with an award for displaying leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to women’s causes.
As if she isn’t busy enough, Diane has been elected as the President of CFDA for four consecutive year terms and will remain so until 2014.
Ally | Elite.
Photo Credit: Getty Images