The BoF Podcast | Diane von Furstenberg on the Making of Her New Documentary


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From her miraculous birth as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor to becoming a fashion powerhouse with her signature wrap dress, Diane von Furstenberg’s remarkable journey is one of resilience, innovation, and empowerment.

In a new documentary about her life called “Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge,” Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy combines archival footage and intimate interviews with von Furstenberg’s closest friends and family to paint a vivid picture of a woman who has always been true to herself and her vision.

“The most important thing is to work hard at being true to yourself and liking yourself. If you are true to yourself, you are free,” shared von Furstenberg.

“Women are defined by society and placed in boxes and labels, and sometimes are forced to make decisions that they don’t want to,” added Obaid-Chinoy. “Diane’s story coming at a time like this is so important because it is an anthem of freedom.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, von Furstenberg and Obaid-Chinoy speak to BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed at the London premiere to share their experience of making the documentary and the new learnings this process surfaced about a life well lived.

Key Insights:

  • When creating documentaries, Obaid-Chinoy’s goal is to carefully peel back the layers of a person until reaching their core. After countless hours of conversation and travel with von Furstenberg, she believes she succeeded. “This is a story about a woman who faced adversity and rose up each time. I feel like all my films are about women who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. And Diane fits right at the heart of it.”
  • For von Furstenberg, the documentary also tells a crucial tale of her mother and her legacy. “It’s about this woman who refused to die, who refused to be a victim, who told me never to be afraid, who never told me to be careful, who wanted me to have a big life,” she shared. “when you have a strong mother, you know, and you’re being told that you are her torch of freedom. That torch could be heavy. But that’s what was given to me. And I honoured her.”
  • Themes of gender, autonomy and power are central to the film, but ultimately, for von Furstenberg, the ability to connect with oneself is paramount. “Being in charge is not an aggressive thing; it’s owning who you are. … The most important relationship is the relationship we have with ourselves.”

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