Reading List: The Woman I Wanted to Be

Sixteen years since her first memoir was published, Diane von Furstenberg is releasing her second, because she wants “every woman to know that she can be the woman she wants to be.”

The fashion icon, designer, philanthropist, wife, mother and grandmother became just that through marriage to a prince and later a media mogul, a life of privilege and a cadre of famous friends whose names she drops to excess. Von Furstenberg wasn’t just a pretty face. She also had talent, tenacity and resilience that carried her through professional crises such as the demise of the fashion empire she created with her iconic wrap dress. The brand’s resurrection, reinvention and global expansion followed, as did a series of personal misfortunes, including a cancer diagnosis in 1994. She successfully underwent treatment but shortly afterward landed back in the hospital because of a major car accident.

Anyone who read her first memoir will find the sequel repetitive. Readers unfamiliar with von Furstenberg’s life will find this book entertaining, though not particularly enlightening. Von Furstenberg isn’t anywhere close to an open book. Given that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the dress that made her a household name, it feels as if The Woman I Wanted to Be is as much a marketing tool as a memoir.

by Diane von Furstenberg

October
Simon & Schuster; $26

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