Friday, January 2, 2015

The Woman I Wanted to Be

One of the most influential, admired, and innovative women of our time: fashion designer, philanthropist, wife, mother, and grandmother, Diane von Furstenberg offers a book about becoming the woman she wanted to be.

Diane von Furstenberg started out with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be—in her words, “the kind of woman who is independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.” She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a global brand and a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family and maintaining “my children are my greatest creation.”

In The Woman I Wanted to Be, von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life—from childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for an entire generation of women. With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women, writing, “I want every woman to know that she can be the woman she wants to be.”

Diane von Furstenberg introduces us to the woman she is (roots, love, beauty) and the business of fashion (the American Dream, the comeback kid, the new era) in her inspiring memoir. In the past, I have questioned my admiration for von Furstenberg, but after reading this book I have realized that she truly is a living icon and deserves my admiration. One does not need to be a member of the fashion community to appreciate her words of wisdom. She shares with the reader her past, present, and future. Overall, I feel that this memoir would be a perfect gift for any young woman, because of its' honesty and boldness. To conclude, I  would like to share with you a few of my favorite passages. Her words have stuck with me for days. Enjoy!

"When I have an obstacle in front of me, especially of someone else's making, I say 'OK. I don't like it, but I can't change it, so let's find a way around it.' Then I find a different path to a solution, which so satisfies me that I forget what the problem was in the first place. Of all the lessons my mother drummed into me, that was perhaps the most important. How could you possibly better yourself if you didn't face your challenges up front or if you laid your problems off on someone or something else and didn't learn from them?"

"Character. Intelligence. Strength. Style. That makes beauty. All these attributes form beauty, and personality, that elusive state of being that is not necessarily perfect."

"Aging is out of your control. How you handle it, though, is in your hands."

"The best thing about aging, I have come to understand, is that you have a past. No one can take that away, so you'd better like it. That is why it is so important to waste no time. By living fully every day, you create your life and that becomes your past, a rich past."

Becoming the woman you want to be: 
"You cannot have a good relationship with anyone, unless you first have it with yourself. Once you have that, any other relationship is a plus, and not a must. Become your best friend; it is well worth it. It takes a lot of work and it can be painful because it requires honesty and discipline. It means you have to accept who you are, see all your faults and weaknesses. Having done that, you can correct, improve, and little by little discover the things you do like about yourself and start to design your life. There is no love unless there is truth and there is nothing truer than discovering and accepting who you really are. By being critical, you will find things you dislike as well as things you like, and the whole package is who you are. The whole package is what you must embrace and the whole package is what you have control of. It is you! Everything you think, do, like, becomes the person you are and the whole thing weaves into a life, your life."

"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become."