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The Woman I Wanted to Be

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  2,813 ratings  ·  312 reviews
One of the most influential, admired, and innovative women of our time: fashion designer, philanthropist, wife, mother, and grandmother, Diane von Furstenberg offers a book about becoming the woman she wanted to be.

Diane von Furstenberg started out with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be- "in her words, the kind of woman who is independen
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published March 4th 2014)
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Heidi The Hippie Reader
The Woman I Wanted to Be is the life story of the incomparable Diane Von Furstenberg. She starts with her parents' harrowing early life in war torn Europe and continues through her own tumultuous love affairs and child rearing years. After a personal first half, the second half of her book is dedicated to how she entered and eventually became a living icon in the world of fashion.

I really enjoyed this book.

In an era where the media glorifies women who show off their bodies, cling to powerful men
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Anna
Oct 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
An interesting life yes, a very lucky life to have been afforded so much. However this book reads like one long who's who of the 'elite' that she knows or knew personally. It is vacuous and self indulgent. Sad. As I'm sure with some better editing it would not have come across as so irritating.
Regina
Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
DVF has led an interesting life, but the most fascinating parts of this book definitely come closer to the end -- with some valuable insights about beauty and aging and about building (and rebuilding and rebuilding) a business. If you're looking for a tell-all, you'll be disappointed -- Diane is not a lady who spills the tea on anyone; in fact, she is remarkably NICE about pretty much everyone she's come into contact with, which is both a little charming and a little frustrating. While DVF offer ...more
Cooper
Dec 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I admire DVF for her talented skills as a designer. Sadly, in this book she presents herself as a woman who has led an interesting life in an impulsive manner and with no regards to consequences. During the times in her life things did not go well for her brand, she's quick to blame others. During the time her brand did exceptionally well, it was all her. Her lack of humility and recognition that who she was (married to a prince) helped open doors for her.

When she lived in NY, she wasn't living
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Gratiela
Jan 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
i wanted to like this book, i really did. but it was nothing more than a looooong list of important people she knows or knew, exquisite places she traveled to and things money can buy. Not for a single second was I inspired by her. Everything seemed just handed out to her on a silver place, despite her constant reminder that she was working towards being "the women she wanted to be" - i don't even understand what kind of women is that. This books comes across like "braging about how rich i am" a ...more
Jillian
Every DVF interview I've read, I've really enjoyed. Her timeless advice in InStyle magazine is always spot on + I've always admired her. Her book, however, was rather disappointing + dry. The only thing I found interesting was her advice to women to become a myth for whatever it is that they do well when they're deep into their forties. But I was a little shocked (and dismayed) that she seemed rather flippant about cheating and affairs with married men.
Annasnova
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent light read, which sounds like a modern fairy-tale in full meaning of that word. Especially liked the first 2 parts - on love, family, and beauty. I didn't know about the wrap dress before reading this book! At times, though, I found all the name-dropping a bit tiresome and some parts felt a bit unreal and too polished.
Donna
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is Diane Von Furstenberg's autobiography and the audio is read by her. I loved her telling of her own personal story. She seems to have lived a charmed life, but she also worked hard to be who she wanted to be and to get what she wanted. Her list of accomplishments is long.

I particularly enjoyed the story about her mother and the building of her business. She also talked much about her family. But I noticed that her brother was mentioned only about 3 times and always in passing...never
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Angela
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Diane is truly inspirational and a beautiful soul. I felt good reading through the entire book, I could not put it down. She has had a fascinating life and is the quintessential of an "It" girl!
BarbaraW
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating woman. Powerful influence on fashion industry and one is able to walk with her as she becomes wildly successful- with a few bumps along the way.
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)
"The prose is as entertaining and timeless as the icon herself."

Read this review in its entirety at Fresh Fiction
Roni Blanche
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you ever wondered why most of my book reviews are of memoirs or biographies, The Woman I Wanted To Be is why. Despite reading being one of my fave things to do, time to just sit and have a leisurely read-fest is limited. In order to get the biggest bang for my buck -- to be entertained as well as to learn something new -- I gravitate to reading what is REAL. Plus I guess I'm a bit of a voyeur and enjoy peeping inside another person's life without being considered a stalker. Believe me, a book ...more
Georgia Clark
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Listened to this as an audiobook and could not get enough of DVF's rolling Belgian accent telling me about becoming the woman she wanted to be. I read this as research for my new novel which features a fashion design character, but I was also interested in DVF's story as a female entrepreneur. Even for someone not personally in the fashion world, I really enjoyed it. DVF is a powerhouse and once, I saw her in her flagship store in the Meat-packing district and she said hello.
Janeen
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
I am huge fan of Diane von Fustenberg and her clothes. Over the past four or five years, DVF's wise words have appeared online via social media and in different magazine profiles and I loved it (and her). I was super on board for the memoir. MEH. The book has two parts: The Woman I Am and The Business of Fashion (Each part has three chapters). The first part, The Woman I Am, really details her charmed life: schooling in different countries, a host of lovers, ultimate jet-setting, marryi
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Deb
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Another book written by a strong, independent, career-minded, narcissistic, talented, experienced, worldly woman. Not me. I actually laughed out loud during the section about her romances. Wow. I've been loyally married to the same man for almost thirty years. Should I feel naive and boring or proud? I can't imagine living any other way. She definitely complicated her life with her choices, though it's clear they have contributed to who she is. I do admire all the traveling she has done-- all th ...more
Hanje Richards
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Meh. It was kind of fun to read about this fashion icon, but it could have been a little shorter! I remember the first time I heard about Diane Von Furstenberg was the year I was a nanny in New York City. There was an article about her and the Prince in New York Magazine. This article is referenced in the book as one of the contributing factors in the break-up of Diane and the Prince. (so I felt really in-the-know having read the article at the time it was published!) It was a quick read, but I ...more
Samantha
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: girl-power, memoir
I was surprised how quick a read this was. It was an interesting look behind the scenes of a pretty glamorous life. I appreciated the humility about her business experience and the history behind such an iconic fashion item. I also really loved the note about her hair being a barometer for her self-confidence. And the pictures were fantastic! Kudos to the team that put those inserts together—I would have read a picture book on this topic, so I appreciated how many photos they were, and how well ...more
Cassie Huennekens
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened on audible and loved that it was narrated by DVF herself. It was very interesting to hear about her incredibly diverse life and openness to new experiences. There were definitely parts I related to with a career in the fashion industry. Overall I felt she oversimplified some events and found the way chapters were divided to be a bit confusing (not in chronological order, but by topic) although it did keep the book moving. I give it 3.5 stars but round up because she's such an inspirat ...more
Jillian Eliza
2015 Reading Challenge -- A book you own but have never read

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads. I've read some of Diane Von Furstenberg's articles online and in magazines. This book was an interesting story about her life, and I enjoyed learning more about her. It also includes beautiful photos!
Syed Bukhari
a personal memoir that effortlessly describes her romantic life with multiple lovers and how she became the woman she is today quite practically. Born to holocaust survivors, she grows up on to marry a prince, affairs with writers, actors and then marries a longtime friend TV mogul.
The journey of Wrap dress followed by her dabbles in licesigning deals gone awry and then a resurgence in the end.
Allegra
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I usually devour books, reading them quickly. This book didn't allow me to do that. DVF is so candid and giving in this book, that it was a conversation that I didn't want to end. I wanted to soak up all the knowledge, confidence, generosity and grace that DVF shares.
Lindsay
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very inspiring. Her story is amazing and has something for everyone. I'm not super interested in fashion but enjoyed learning about her start with an Italian factory, her relationships, and her businesses. I wish I had gone to her exhibit at LACMA but I'm glad I heard her speak at the Skirball.
Julie
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a fantastic book to wrap up 2017 (pun intended). DVF is fearless, unapologetically confident, and always follows her gut. I love her desire to always want to live the life of a man in a woman’s body; and her tenacity and willingness to change are so inspiring. Cheers to a new year and the new opportunities that await.
Jasmine
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Lots of insights into the fashion industry, DVF, and her eponymous brand. It's nice to read such an honest and transparent story of her struggles and rise to fame and fortune.
Vannessa Anderson
Quotes To Live By

The good thing about aging is that you have a past, a history. If you like your past and stand by it, then you know you know you have lived fully and learned by your life.

As a girl, I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be my own person, independent and free. I knew that freedom could only be achieved if I took full responsibility for myself and my actions, if I were true to truth, if I became my very best friend.

Life is no
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Sylvia
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 out of 5 stars

"Love is life is love is life"

Like many people, I am an admirer of Diane von Furstenberg's clothing. The wrap dress that thrust her onto the scene is just as popular today as it was back in the seventies. Beyond my covetous desire to own one of her iconic dresses, I knew very little about DVF. "The Woman I Wanted to Be," quickly showed me that DVF is more than just a pretty dress.

I was unexpectedly taken off guard with the story of the time DVF's mother spent in a concentratio
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Catherine
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, luxe-lit
This is a book about finding yourself, being fearless, trusting your instincts and having successful second and third acts. Anyone who has lost their way and needs a little inspiration should read this book, regardless of your level of interest in fashion. The only thing that prevented me from giving it 4 stars, was I found it, at times, a little too stream of conscious and feel it could have used tighter editing. However, in all fairness, one of the themes of DVF is she would lose herself and h ...more
Julie
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios
I first read the hard cover of this book and struggled to get through it. I ended up putting it down after a few chapters. A few months later I picked up the audio version which was ten times better! Diane narrates the book in her Eastern European accent which I love. She's so good at telling her story. I loved learning about her childhood, and the strong figure her mother was. Her mother, a holocaust survivor, taught her and her siblings at young ages about stocks, bonds dividends, and really m ...more
Alexandra
Hard reading

I love bios and auto-bios, love reading about fashion, strong women, and interesting lives. This should have been a bio, not the latter. DVF is not a writer, even of her own story. Too many adjectives but not enough substance. Her flipping from
one man to another sounded low-class, not jet-setter. Her takes on her business, not describing what went wrong or right, how it was fixed or how it progressed, was amateurish. I never felt like I cared about her life or her business or what ca
...more
Alaa Bit Hashim
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Finally done with this book. It took me this long to finish it simply because it wasn't easy to read long portions within one day, her story-telling skills are not that great, she tends to dwell on so many unnecessary details, from my opinion. The book might be vain and shallow for some, considering how she emphasizes on the "important" people who were her "friends", at a point, it might seem like a book about who's who in the world of Fashion and Hollywood, but while I was reading I choose to n ...more
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Diane von Fürstenberg (born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin) is a fashion designer best known for her hallmark wrap dress.
“Don’t blame your parents, don’t blame your boyfriend, don’t blame the weather. Accept the reality, embrace the challenge, and deal with it. Be in charge of your own life. Turn negatives into positives and be proud to be a woman.” 27 likes
“My definition of beauty is strength and personality.” 15 likes
More quotes…