To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Design & Style

Diane’s Journey - Part 1

Diane von Furstenberg

Lesson time 17:14 min

Diane didn't go to fashion school, but she opened the industry’s doors anyway. Find out how she learned about the industry, advertising, and the power of the image in her early career.

Diane von Furstenberg
Teaches Building a Fashion Brand
In 17 video lessons, Diane von Furstenberg will teach you how to build and market your fashion brand.


von Furstenberg's celebrity status permitted her unusual access to then Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, the undisputed grand dame of American couture. Her slogan, "feel like a woman, and wear a dress," launched von Furstenberg and a new parlor game of counting her dresses at parties. You can have yellow, red, I believe green. In the Seventh Avenue showroom, the buyers responded to American women who decided they had to have a von Furstenberg creation. And $75 did not seem too much to pay for a touch of class. Enough. That's it. Cut. I've had enough, yeah. Normally, if you are interested in fashion, you will go to fashion school. You will go to fashion school, you will learn everything that you have to learn. You will learn technique, you will learn to draw, you will learn business. I mean, you will learn everything about the fashion business. In my case, I did not go to fashion school. There are all the doors in front of you, because you're a young woman. So you could push any door. And some doors are more glamorous than others. And some doors are not glamorous at all. And you push them by accident, and they turn up to be your door. My first door in the fashion business was being the assistant of a photographer's agent in Paris. I knew so little about fashion business. I knew nothing. And I became the assistant-- I mean, secretary, at the time, you would say-- to this man who was an agent of photographers. So he lived in Paris in this beautiful little house. There were all these very fancy, glamorous people coming in and out, models and photographers. And I was completely overpowered. And my job was to answer the phone and to take messages. What I learned about the business of fashion on the image side, I learned that in order to make-- images were so important, because they were in the magazines. Those photographers would either work for editorials, and they would work for Vogue or Cosmopolitan, or whatever magazines. And they would take pictures, and that was the editorial work that was paid a little less than the advertising work. And those magazines survived because of advertising. So I learned everything about the image of fashion, right? Everything that is the image. My second job was the absolute opposite. I worked for an Italian man. This man, called Angelo Ferretti, had a printing plant, which means that he would actually buy from a variety of illustrators, people who actually draw for textile design. And he would look at hundreds of designs, and he would say, this, no, this. And he would put it aside. Then he would negotiate the price. And we did this for hours. And that's how I learned how you take a design, a print, how you do repeats, and how you print it. So I learned everything about printing with these incredible workers, these colorists. And you know, they're not jus...

About the Instructor

In her 20s, Diane Von Furstenberg convinced a textile factory owner in Italy to let her produce her first designs. With those samples, she flew to New York City to build one of the world’s most iconic and enduring fashion brands. In her first online fashion design class, Diane teaches you how to build a brand. You’ll learn how to create a visual identity, build loyalty, stay true to your vision, and launch your product.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

DVF is a positive and inspirational woman. I loved listening to her perspective.

well amazing insight on DVF's journey as a designer

It was absouletly great! DVF was a great mentor and inspires me to do my best. Sharing her expertise is a unique gift that i will always take with me. THANK YOU

very good and very helpful for new entrepreneurs


Davin O.

I love DVF but as the wife of a handsome socialite aristocrat there were so many doors open for her and not a long way down to fall. I want to hear from successful creatives who don't come from wealth.

Giorgia D.

Listening to DVF's story about her journey has been really inspiring that I almost got tears in my eyes! It moves you from within as, if you have a dream, it makes you feel like there is a place for your out there. Even though I believe that we are living in completely different times, with a complete different scenario, you and your idea can still make it.

Rocio T.

The story of the editor who helped Diane with key information, reminds me that we can't do it alone. We always need someone who knows someone or something we need at the moment. The lesson I took from this, always ask, it doesn't hurt. We're afraid to look ridiculous or ignorant. Always ask... the worst is that the person says, I don't know, and we won't get hurt from that.

Rocio T.

I love the idea of being taught by someone who has lived long and pass through many pathways so she knows for sure what she's telling you. Great lessons in life more than techniques, I shall say.

A fellow student

“I think it´s very important to pay attention, to the people you meet and not always to the role that they have, because very often, somebody who is today, an assistant, may be the editor-in-chief in a few years”.... so true! We have to respect and listen to the people we meet, at some point they will contribute something in our life. Love DVF

Noelia P.

Well, in my case I studied visual arts and I'm working as an art teacher part time as I am starting to design a small collection... I did lots of courses of fashion design and I won a prize in a contest... A big influence for me is the artist Delia Cancela, from whom I worked as her assisstan and we became friends... She was the first Argentinian artist to work with fashion and she is friend of Kenzo and other designers as she collaborated with them... I feel I bit alone here in Melbourne as I don't know people from the industry but I guess that should not stop me to continue to follow my heart... Anyone here to network with?

Mia S.

"As you go along the way, you have mentors, people you meet who will help you, people who are in the same position as you, you went to school together, and then you end up competing with each other but you're still family. Today, people call that 'networking,' but I think that you can never underestimate the value and importance of people and of the people that you meet. I think it's very important to pay attention to the people you meet, and not always to the role that they have, because very often somebody who today is the assistant may be the editor-in-chief in a few years. The people who become your most valuable mentors, at the time, most probably you won't realize it. Diana Vreeland, who I was so afraid of and terrified by, and who I thought would never ever be interested in little inexpensive dresses that looked like nothing when you saw them on the hangers, would actually be the person who saw first, the value of these dresses. Every designer has a different path. You just have to find your path, your door. You have to find the one person that you connect with that is either intrigued by you or that likes you or likes what you do, and then you go from there. 'She didn't come in with an idea, she came in with a packaged product, the whole thing worked out.' '$75 did not seem too much to pay for a touch of class.'"

Mia S.

"There are all the doors in front of you, and some doors are more glamorous than others. And some doors are not glamorous at all. And you push them by accident, and they turn up to be Your door. Looking back, it's just crazy because that picture, that print, that 'Feel like a woman, wear a dress' stayed with me for over 40 years. Photographers would either work for editorials, Vogue or Cosmopolitan, and they would take pictures; that was paid a little less than the advertising work, and those magazines survived because of advertising. I learned everything about the image of fashion. 'Chin up, up up up!' 'What do I do?' 'Well, you have to show it to buyers.' 'Where do I meet the buyers?' 'In about a month is market week, when everybody show their line, when buyers come from all over. Since you don't have a showroom, I think you should take a hotel room. The Gotham Hotel on Fifth Avenue is where all the California lines show their lines. So there will be traffic there, that's where I think you should rent a room. You should list yourself in something called the Fashion Calendar. It would also be good if you took out a little ad and made an announcement in Women's Wear Daily.'"

Wilanda N.

This is the thing about the creative arts, including fashion, there is no one right way to do this! It's a beautiful thing, yet it could be so aggravating. You can go to a college or university OR take a Masterclass. Learning fashion means going in your own path; that leaves room for creativity but also a headache. Just make sure when you are ready to go in, go hard and learn the material because whether you learn here or there, it's up to you to soak in as much information as possible in order to get to the next fashion step you are working on accomplishing. #notetoself

Emma F.

Hi, I’m Emma Fisher. I’m taking Diane’s Masterclass because I’m planning on starting my own fashion brand and want to learn how to begin. I’d say I am at an amateur experience level; I’m very good at drawing but don’t know much about sewing or pattern making. I am looking to learn the ins and outs of starting a fashion brand and what it takes to be a successful designer. One question I would want to ask my peers is: If you’ve started your fashion brand or fashion career, how did you get started and how did you get your brand out in the public eye?