November 09, 1998 12:00 PM

by Diane Von Furstenberg

You have to hand it to Diane Von Furstenberg: She works hard for the money. It wasn’t enough that her wrap dresses—those soft, sexy, cotton-jersey numbers—became a ’70s fad and made her a multimillionaire by 29. She branched out to luggage and eyewear (and the cover of Newsweek) before her cachet faded and she nearly went bankrupt in 1978. By 1992, after more boom-and-bust cycles in the garment, fragrance and cosmetics businesses, she rebounded with a new clothing line for QVC and was again furling the fashionable in wrap dresses in 1997.

A daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she gained entrée to the jet set with her 1969 marriage to Austrian-Italian Prince Eduard Egon von und zu Furstenberg. While her career roller-coastered, she divorced, raised two children and fell in love with the likes of Barry Diller and Richard Gere. Von Furstenberg is not reflective. She remembers attending the 1976 Democratic convention with pal Jerry Brown, who counted his delegates while she counted the women wearing her dresses, and a 1979 dinner hosted by President Carter was memorable because of the terminal damage done to her Manolo Blahniks by a wet White House lawn. Still, her candor is endearing. (Simon & Schuster, $25)

Bottom Line: Designing woman doesn’t quite bare all in this career autobiography

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