I love reading stories about strength and survival and compassion and romance. And I especially love reading about people’s lives and the things that really happen to them, because there is always that moment when you know that nothing fictional could come close to the reality of life. That is where the beauty is – that is where the surprise is. One may think of designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg a certain way, but I guarantee that if you read her memoir, The Woman I Wanted To Be, you will be amazed to know the life she has led and that this woman is real.
Her words are honest and endearing and forthcoming …
On her mother, who survived the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück: “I feel it is my duty to make up for all the suffering she endured, to always celebrate freedom and live fully. My birth was her triumph. She was not supposed to survive; I was not supposed to be born. We proved them wrong. We both won the day I was born.”
On taking time with yourself: “You cannot have a good relationship with anyone, unless you first have it with yourself … I was lucky to start a relationship with myself very early in life. I am not sure why; maybe because I had no sibling until the age of six and I was alone a lot, or maybe because I was taught from an early age to be responsible for myself and for my actions.”
On confronting cancer at the age of forty-seven: “I became more compassionate to the sufferings of others, appreciated the value of health, became more spiritual and understood both my fragility and my strength.”
On taking chances in life: “I’ve long believed that the ‘if’s’ were the doors to my future, and I dared to open them, one by one, as they came along. I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be but I didn’t know how I would become her. Opening those doors led me on a path to fashion, and that became the path to the woman I am today.”
On the nature of Nature: “Nature is never still. Things are growing, ripening, aging, fading, and then starting again. The trees are beautiful even when bare. I love every phase and I am endlessly fascinated by that life cycle moving on. Nature never stops.”