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‘Love is life is love’

Naturally, the motto of fashion designer Diane Von Fürstenberg is the perfect way to describe her memoir. Having recently become fascinated with the former princess courtesy of the television series House of DVF, I was very excited to purchase her autobiography and discover more of this fashionable, strong character who claimed to finally be the woman she always wanted to be. In a very intimate manner, Fürstenberg reveals what makes her tick in a tell all story.

What was most striking about the book was perhaps how it began- with a detailed history lesson on World War Two and the role it played for Fürstenberg’s parents. It’s one thing to learn about such a monumental part of history in school, but hearing a first rate account is something else altogether. There is only one word to sum up Liliane Nahmias’ Holocaust experience- incredible. Fürstenberg describes in detail the hardship her mother endured; but what the reader really notices is the strength she displayed in survival. Liliane Nahmias’ strength, optimism and determination- all of which she seems to have passed on to her daughter. In a society where parents are seen as a burden, it was truly refreshing to read how Fürstenberg valued her mother and calls on her for inspiration.

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Fürstenberg saves the obvious for last. Whilst the reader might expect the book to focus on fashion, it is clear from the very beginning that whilst fashion is an integral part to her life, it is only one part. The rise and fall of Diane Von Fürstenberg certainly is an epic tale. As is the story of the famous wrap dress- a history lesson that leaves the reader smiling. For the more fashionable, it is a story of magic. It has been a tumultuous journey for the designer who fast became a household name, but she is very frank about her dealings and even her mistakes. There is not a hint of regret, as she seems to understand how her past has affected her future. The reader is provided with an insight to the fashion industry, and Fürstenberg’s account does well to remind us that hard work and perseverance is crucial. To be successful in fashion is by no means an easy ride. Of course, a royal status adds a little boost!

The Woman I Wanted To Be truly leaves the author as an open book. With a whole chapter dedicated to her extensive and often scandalous love life, Fürstenberg leaves the reader in shock. It would seem almost like the gossipy pages of a celebrity magazine, but it is admiration for the honesty of it all that stops the reader from gasping. Instead of trying to cover up her secrets, Fürstenberg chooses to present how her beaus shaped her life, experiences and even her business. It is a perfect reminder of how people have the power to affect. Fürstenberg seems to channel a little of Coco Chanel here and there…

The reader is left rather impressed with Diane Von Fürstenberg. Her story is remarkable and each individual will take away a moral unique to them. It is an inspiring read, reminding the reader that even princesses are mortal creatures. Family, perseverance and realising the world we reside in are presented as the key ingredients to a successful life. The Woman I Wanted To Be is as much a lesson to us all as it is a memory for Diane Von Fürstenberg. To have read the book is a privilege and an inspiration. Whether she is a favourite or a mere nod of the head, her autobiography is a must read for fashion lovers.

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