Diane von Fürstenberg Says She Intends to Pay Laid Off Employees 'in Full' and Assures 'DVF Will Go on'
Diane Von Furstenberg has responded to a recent New York Times report that revealed longtime financial struggles within her namesake label and explained how nationwide store closures amid the coronavirus pandemic left her "nowhere to hide."
In a lengthy Instagram post, the famed fashion designer, 73, said she wanted to "clarify a few things" covered in the article and ensured "DVF will go on," despite laying off 75 percent of its 400-person staff and closing 18 of its 19 retail stores in recent months.
"We intend to pay all our employees in full, including severance. (I also want to say we have taken no government funds throughout)," von Fürstenberg wrote alongside a magazine clipping of the New York Times report, published last week.
"As everybody I have had painful months trying to untangle huge difficulties. I had to close many stores and shrink operations, but DVF will go on. We will continue to design and deliver the global community of Women InCharge, our timeless fashion, our exclusive prints and our honest voice," she continued. "I want to thank my faithful consumers and partners that have supported me for so long..."
von Fürstenberg has no further comment at this time.
The New York Times questioned whether the fashion icon could restructure her once cutting-edge business model that relies heavily on brick-and-mortar locations and department stores to avoid bankruptcy and make it through the pandemic with "enough of her reputation intact to become the face of the industry’s recovery."
Seemingly responding to the skeptics, von Fürstenberg assured her customers: "I will not disappoint you," adding, "Owning my vulnerability through these hard times and learning from it will make me and my brand stronger. Thank you... love you all. Dian" - @therealdvf"
Last month, news broke that the beloved New York-based label laid off 75 percent of its 400-person staff and is set to close 18 of its 19 retail stores. Moving forward, DVF will focus on a "digital-only, China-focused" business model, according to a Business of Fashion report published on June 15.
The DVF store in New York City's Meatpacking District (which also holds the company's office and a living space for von Fürstenberg) is the only location that will remain open. International branches in England and France will also close, according to BoF.
DVF’s initial company-wide layoff came in May and were conducted over Zoom "without any comment from von Fürstenberg," leaving a "skeleton crew" of just 25 percent of staff still employed. More executive team members were let go in June, multiple sources close to the company told BoF. The outlet reports that both Chief Executive Sandra Campos and Vice President of Production Holliday Hofstatter have left the company.
The designer gained national success when she launched the brand in 1972, thanks to her invention of the sought-after wrap dress design. The brand went on to flourish and von Fürstenberg, 73, quickly became a household name.
In 1983 she sold her dress design license to Puritan Fashions Corporation, which ended her control over her namesake line, until she reacquired the license in 1997, spurring another wave of brand success.
Von Fürstenberg currently sits on DVF’s board, but took a step back in the day-to-day running of the business in 2016 when the brand hired Jonathan Saunders as its first chief creative officer. He resigned in 2017. BoF reports that the company is considering rehiring designer Nathan Jenden who last worked for DVF in 2018.
DVF is the latest in a long list of fashion companies, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and J.Crew, facing financial struggles during the on-going pandemic.