7 Ways To Be A Badass, Courtesy of Diane Von Furstenberg
If you're looking for ways to be a badass, look no further than DVF. If you're not familiar, I'm talking about Diane von Furstenberg, the designer/mogul/socialite/philanthropist/princess. Yes, princess (but that's another story). Von Furstenberg's career epitomizes the difference between bad girl and badass: DVF hasn't been at the center of major controversy (at least since the '70s), but she is at the center of getting things done.
And here's a confession: I thought reading Diane von Furstenberg: A Life Unwrapped by Gioia Diliberto (it's the first biography of the designer) would absolutely make me want to shop. Sure, I have one of her iconic wrap dresses hanging in my closet, but, in all honesty, it doesn't get much play. I figured learning about DVF's vaguely rags-to-riches tale would send me to the mall, but it didn't.
What did Diliberto's captivating portrait of the now-68 year-old Diane make me want to do? It made me want to write. After all, that's what I do; that's where I put my own creative efforts. Diane von Furstenberg's story is one of perseverance — from boarding school to prince's yachts, from Studio 54 to QVC, and ultimately to being celebrated (via a wrap dress, of course) by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Diliberto notes, after Diane's denim line flppped in 1979, that even though "the fashion gods [were against her], ... still, Diane soldiered on."
DVF's story applies to all women, regardless of their passions. All of us have ambitions and hopes and dreams. And hey: isn't it fitting that the woman who unwaveringly celebrates women makes other want to better themselves? I think so. Here are 7 lessons DVF's life can teach us about achieving total badass-ed-ness.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
According to Stefani Greenfield, creative brand director of DVF Studio, "there's always an echo with an icon ... it's as if they're buying a piece of Diane's energy and confidence" when they buy a dress. That energy and confidence that each garment is imbued with is the result of Diane's tireless championing of herself.
Perfect Your Signature
Two words: Wrap. dress. Don't be afraid to stick with what you're known for. The wrap dress turned 40 last year, and it's still going strong. To be a badass, you've got to own your talents.
But Don't Be Afraid To Mix It Up
Another confession: I've got some DVF dinner plates in my cabinet. And I wouldn't be surprised if someone you know has luggage or makeup or bedding with her initials on it, too. Sure, DVF's licensing agreements may have, at times, spread her too thin, but Diane always embraces trying new things because she believes in herself. And, when something doesn't work, she's not ashamed to gracefully step away. According to Diliberto, "the success of the wrap dress gave Diane the luxury of exploring new directions." Take her couture line that flopped in the '80s. DVF shrugs off that endeavor, noting, "designing very expensive products that only a few can afford was definitely not something I truly enjoyed."
Make Bold Decisions In All Areas Of Your Life Because Only You Can See What You'll Regret
As a teenager, Diane "faked an appendicitis attack to avoid exams and convinced a doctor to remove her appendix. Afterward, [she] checked herself into a clinic to recuperate, and she spent most of her time sunning herself in the garden." Badasses like DVF aren't afraid to make bold moves to accomplish what they wantm — or get out of pesky situations. Whether it was building an enormous corporate complex in NYC's Meatpacking District or interning at an Italian textile factory, Diane always took risks: in her business life, in her personal life, in her social life. Those risks often involved putting herself first.
Surround Yourself With Brilliant People
"Diane trusted women, believed in them, and wanted to be surrounded by them. Male designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Halston, and Bill Blass might be geniuses of technique, but they would never know what it felt like to actually wear their clothes. Only women understood what other women wanted."
Age Like a Queen — or a Princess
A true badass owns her life — every year of it! DVF is nearly 70, and she wears her experience in her appearance. According to Diliberto, "[Diane] says she's proud of her lines and wrinkles — they're evidence of the rich life she's lived, and though tempted at times, she has not erased them with a face-lift."
Get After It, In A Big Way
Whatever "it" is that you want. "Forbes in 2012 named [DVF] the thirty-third most powerful woman in the world." She's been the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America "since 2006." To be a badass, you have to dream big and hold to your principles, regardless of your popularity. For Diane, that means a "commitment to her feminist and political beliefs," as well as, an ongoing effort to make all women feel strong and beautiful — while her own legacy. Says DVF's son, Alex: "'She wants to be as big as Chanel.'"
Images: Giphy (7)