Review: The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg


November 17, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm

The Woman I Wanted To Be
The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster, 1 November 2014
Genre: Autobiography, Memoir
Format: Paperback, Review Copy
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 3 stars
Other books from author: Too many to list, check them all out here 🙂

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads Synopsis

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 independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.” She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a global brand and a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family and maintaining “my children are my greatest creation.”

In The Woman I Wanted to Be, von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life; from childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for an entire generation of women. With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women, writing, “I want every woman to know that she can be the woman she wants to be.”

What I Thought…

The Woman I Wanted to Be is a fast-paced and interesting read, and it is a must for women seeking to build their identity.  In it, Diane von Furstenberg (or DVF as she’s otherwise known) is all about female empowerment and carving her identity.  This doesn’t happen once or at one particular time in her life, it in fact happens many times over the course of her life thus far.

The book is broken up into two parts.  The first part, “The Woman I Am”, covers her young life growing up in Belgium as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, her jet-set life around Europe both before and after her marriage to a Prince, and the various loves in her life.  In the second part, “The Business of Fashion,” Diane recounts her American Dream in the ’70s and the rise of that Wrap Dress, her setbacks and re-emergence as The Comeback Kid in the ’90s and what’s happened since in what she calls The New Era.  In each stage, Diane looks at how each step in the journey of her life made her who she was and is at each point in time.

I think my biggest issue with this book is the superficiality in the detail.  I don’t mean superficiality in the sense that fashion is superficial, because that couldn’t be farther from the truth as the book deals with some serious issues.  Rather, it essentially covers Diane’s entire life, going back even further to provide details of her parents’ lives and upbringing, and it does so in 239 pages.  It really only scratched the surface of each aspect it covered, which was disappointing.  I wanted to know so much more about almost everything in the book, and I ended up Googling to attempt to find the answers to my questions.  It was ambitious to attempt to cover such a vast subject matter in such a small number of pages, and as a result I was left feeling dissatisfied by the time I finished.

If you’re looking for a tell-all book spilling the secrets and backstabbings in the fashion industry, then I wouldn’t bother reading this because you’d miss the point entirely. This book is about striving for your goals, and using your experiences and your past to help you reach your future.  I think Diane sums it up perfectly here:

I couldn’t agree more!

What did you think of this book?  Did you enjoy it?


2 thoughts on “Review: The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg

  1. I read this one too and was kind of surprised at how much I enjoyed it. She is such an interesting woman but I do agree with you how there was a lot covered in a short time so some answers were missing. Overall I thought it was a great read about becoming your own woman and being independent and self-reliant.

    • I completely agree – when it came to being your own woman and self-sufficient, this book nailed it on the head. I think I was expecting more about her life, which is why I was left feeling a little dissatisfied with the detail, but overall it was a very interesting book.

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Hi! I'm Bernadette, a 27 year old lawyer who loves to read (duh!), especially to escape my day job. I love to talk about books but I don't always get the opportunity to do so, hence my blog! I adore YA literature, most genres of Adult Fiction, and I've also been known to pick up a non-fiction book from time to time. I hope you enjoy your visit!

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