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Humble Beginnings, 1947
Von Furstenberg was born in Belgium in 1946, just 18 months after her mother, Lily, was rescued after spending 13 months in concentration camps. Her father, Leon, was a successful businessman.
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Signature Sass, 1956
"This picture is very much me," she says of vacationing on the seaside at Knokke-le-Zoute in Belgium . "I thought I was very chic."
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She was almost 13 when she first left for boarding school, first in Switzerland, then in London. "Everybody always thought I was older than I was," she says (here, at age 15).
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Party People, 1965
Von Furstenberg attended this pirate-theme party in Saint-Tropez with Brigitte Bardot (upper left) and others in 1965. She relishes "those years right between the Pill and AIDS," she says. "We were freer."
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Becoming a Princess, 1969
"I was three months pregnant when we got married, so I didn't want to wear all white," she says of her first wedding, to Prince Egon von Furstenberg—whom she called "very attractive" and "a great catch." "This was a Dior dress," she says. "The dress was white but it was cut out and underneath I had put petticoats of all colors and a belt made out of ribbons of all colors."
They divorced in 1983.
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Working Girl, 1976
"I was so busy I didn't have time to think what other people were thinking," she says (in her Seventh Avenue showroom in 1976) of working while taking care of her two young children.
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Wise Beyond Her Years, 1976
Von Furstenberg has said that she lived like an "old woman" in her Park Avenue apartment. "I remember when I turned 20, my mother said, 'How do you feel about being 20?' And I said, 'Oh gosh, I've been telling people I'm 20 for five years.'" The portraits above her couch were painted by Andy Warhol in 1974 and are currently in her office in the Meatpacking District in New York City.
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A Room of Her Own, 1978
"This beautiful bed was designed by Dakota Jackson," she says of "the Eclipse" cherry-wood bed with quilted ivory satin base and headboard in her Fifth Avenue apartment. "It went to Savannah College of Art and Design for an exhibition, and I just returned it to him because I don't have the space."
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Fast Friends, 1977
"Andy Warhol was like parsley," she says of the artist. "Everywhere you went, he was there. If I gave a party, he always came. But Andy was a voyeur ... he didn't really speak. He made you speak, he took pictures of you, he painted you, he taped you with a record player. But he didn't open himself up that much."
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The Making of a Mantra, 1972
"A friend of mine took this picture," she says (in an ad for her line in 1972). "I said the cube was too wide.... So I just took a pen, and without thinking I wrote, 'Feel like a woman, wear a dress.' And it stuck."
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Modern Family, 2001
In 2001, after 26 years of dating on and off, von Furstenberg married billionaire exec Barry Diller at City Hall in New York City, alongside her son Alexander, granddaughter Talita, daughter Tatiana, son-in-law Russell Steinberg and granddaughter Antonia. "I'm very proud of my family because they are intelligent, generous and fun," she says. "They're my best friends."
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The New Guard, 2016
"I always loved and respected Jonathan very much because he's so much about color and prints," she says of her new chief creative officer Jonathan Saunders, whom she appointed in May 2016. "I had to find somebody who could take the baton after me. I wanted to leave a legacy."
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A Commitment to Inspiration, 2017
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Shepherding Fashion Into the Future, 2017
"I think that right now, this industry is really going through a complete disruption," the chairwoman of the CFDA said (here at the CFDA Awards in 2017). "Everything is at a changing moment... It's both interesting and terrifying to some people."