Diane von Fürstenberg: Woman in Charge on Disney+ review, a riveting look at a fashion life well lived

Diane von Fürstenberg (Getty Images)
Diane von Fürstenberg (Getty Images)

One woman who has certainly never made any apologies for herself is Diane von Fürstenberg. The 77 year old designer is the focus of a new documentary which launches today. Its opening scene shows her climbing into a sink to do her makeup closer to the mirror, “I don’t understand why so many people do not embrace age” she laments. “I’ve always been attracted to wrinkles; age means living. You shouldn’t say how old you are, you should say how long you have lived. If you take all your wrinkles away the map of your life is different. I don’t want to erase anything from my life.”

This owning of life becomes more poignant when you learn her extraordinary story; the daughter of a Belgium Jewish Holocaust survivor who went on to marry a socialite German prince. “My roots were Jewish” she says, “but my mother paid for that and I was her revenge.” The couple would go on to become two of New York City’s most decadent, legendary figures (she confesses to turning down a threesome with David Bowie and Mick Jagger).

In the Seventies she pioneered the wrap dress, becoming a billionaire success and loss story in her own right. From the cover of Newsweek at 28 to being swamped by the ubiquity of the dress’s appeal.  “Divorce was freedom” she says in the film (her husband Egon von Fürstenberg was bisexual and died from AIDS related illness in 2004 aged 57). “I became the woman I wanted to be, in charge of my destiny, of my children (she has a son and daughter), business, in charge of my life.”

When she reignited her label in the Noughties, it became a star spot on the New York Fashion Week schedule, with celebrity-packed front rows and superstar models taking their turn on the runway. The wrap dress lived again - adopted by everyone from Paris Hilton to the Princess of Wales, or as she was then, Kate Middleton. Both her children and grandchildren are interviewed for the film, who all offer riveting and open insight - her daughter especially, on their childhood in which their parents were often absent, “I wouldn’t say it was neglect…” It’s worth a watch.

Diane von Fürstenberg: Woman in Charge, on Disney+ now