Money & Career

Diane Von Furstenberg Is Redefining What It Means To Be A Woman In Charge

DVF shares how to "own it"

After a lifetime of leading her own empire, fashion icon DVF is redefining what it means (and takes) to be a woman in charge. Here, Lucy Taylor finds out how to “own it”.

You’ve just launched your Spotify podcast InCharge with DVF. Have you always liked the idea of doing interviews?

When I was a child, I would pretend like I was talking on the radio. I loved using my voice and I have an unbelievable love and passion for words. As a matter of fact, right now I’m writing a book that is all about words.

What does it mean to be a woman in charge?

OK, so to be a woman in charge is first and foremost a commandment to yourself. It’s owning who you are. It’s being true to yourself. Being in charge has always been kind of the umbrella of all of the things that I did,  but it’s only this summer that I started to think about what it really means to be in charge. To me, it is a commitment to yourself. It’s owning who you are. You own your imperfections and they become your assets. You own your vulnerability and it becomes your strength. To be in charge you have to be able to connect, to expand, to inspire and to advocate.

How did your podcast begin?

Last summer I was in Sweden with my friend Daniel Ek [who founded streaming service Spotify] and I had the idea of doing these intimate conversations with women who are in charge. I wanted people to understand that what I find inspiring is a successful woman who can not only talk about  her success, but also  some of her challenges.

You famously interviewed Kris Jenner. What did you learn from the matriarch and ‘momager’ of the Kardashian/Jenner family?

Well, Kris Jenner, I will tell you, she made me feel like I have been a lousy mother because, if anything, she’s a supermum! She’s a mum who made cookies. She’s a soccer mum. That is who she is at heart and she has continued to be that woman. That’s what I discovered from her: that truly, before anything else, she’s a supermum.

Diane Von Furstenberg and Kris Jenner

Diane von Furstenberg with “supermum” Kris Jenner

What is your favourite question to ask your guests?

“Do you ever feel like a loser?” Do you know why? Because it is very inspiring for people to understand that successful people do feel like losers. They always reply, “Of course I do, all the time.”

What podcast are you obsessed with right now – not including your own?

The New York Times’ The Daily, always.

Which artist is on your most-played Spotify playlist?

The Weeknd.

What do you want women to take away from InCharge with DVF?

I want women to realise that it’s all about the relationship you have with yourself, which is in fact the most important relationship in life. Once you have that relationship, every other relationship is a plus, not a must. That’s what I want them to remember, and also that your character is the only thing you have 100 per cent control of. You can lose your health, your wealth, your beauty and your freedom, but you never lose your character.

How have you empowered women to be in charge of their lives?

By letting them know that the core of their strength comes from within. That’s really the most important thing. That’s the only thing you have to know. The secret of life is just owning it.

What do you wear when you are recording the podcast? Please say activewear or pyjamas…

Well, it really all depends, darling, because the one with [journalist] Elaine [Welteroth] we did it in my bedroom, so I could have very well been in my pyjamas, almost. The same with [model] Karlie [Kloss], but the one with Kris Jenner I went to her house. But let me tell you, it’s the intimacy that matters, not what we’re wearing.

diane von furstenberg

Your mother taught you that “fear is not an option”. Are you afraid of anything?

Right now, I would tell you that I would be afraid of telling you that I am not afraid of anything. Why? Because I am very superstitious and that is bad luck. But I am going to tell you that throwing away fear does not change your problems, but it does make it easier.

What have your life experiences taught you?

Now that I am an older woman who has had a very full life, I think it’s important to share my experience, my knowledge, my wisdom and my connection with others.

What advice would you have given your younger self?  

I would tell her that I think it’s a duty and a privilege to use your voice for people who have no voice. But most of all, darling, go for it!

Five Fashion Podcasts to Download Now

Treat your ears – and your wardrobe – to the podcasts that are unbuttoning the world of styling, gathering tricks of the trade and offering insights into the industry’s secret side. 

3.55 By Chanel

If you were mesmerised by Karl Lagerfeld’s runway spectacles, then this is the podcast for you. Offering exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with many of Chanel’s muses, including Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart and Pharrell Williams, immerse yourself in a world that many don’t get to see.

Listen here

The Barneys Podcast By Barneys New York
Here to celebrate the style and culture of the American fashion scene is department store Barneys. With trailblazing journalist Noor Tagouri behind the microphone, you’ll be treated to conversations with guests that include Elaine Welteroth and Diet Prada.

Listen here

Wardrobe Crisis with Clare Press
Australia’s sustainable style warrior Clare Press unzips the real issues facing the industry today, with a focus on ethics and activism. Join Press and her guests as they decode the fashion system and dig deeply into its effects on people and the planet.

Listen here

Gucci Podcast by Gucci
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a glimpse into the enigmatic world of Gucci? Wonder no more. Each episode of this podcast features the voices who are collaborating with the Florentine fashion house’s creative director, Alessandro Michele.

Listen here

The Cutting Room Floor by Omondi
With a no-holds-barred approach, designer Recho Omondi discusses a variety of issues plaguing the fashion industry in her new podcast. It’s extremely insightful for those of you who are interested in fashion on a deeper socio-political level.

Listen here

InCharge with DVF is available on Spotify now.

This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue of marie claire.

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