Design & Style, Business

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.

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

Topics include: Making the First Samples • Being Ready • Mentors


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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Diane von Furstenberg

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

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