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Monday, January 17, 2011


For years I've been talking a big game about how I am going to take full advantage of all the cool lectures that happen in NYC but for all my talk, I haven't done much.  That all changed on Thursday when I attended a chat with Diane Von Furstenberg, DVF herself, at the 92nd Street Y.  92Y always brings in top talent, but it usually sells out before I have a chance to get my [reasonably priced $35] ticket.

In fact, that was the case for this lecture, too, but it just so happened that a magazine I work with was the event sponsor, and they had an extra ticket lying around.  They also had access to a small pre-event cocktail reception that DVF actually attended.  And, man, does that woman know how to make an entrance!  She completely busted on her way down the stairs.  I turned around to find the fashion phenom on her ass.  Stars, they're just like us.  Ever the classy lady, the 64-year-old (her b-day was on New Years Eve) got right up onto her 4.5 inch heels and started mingling.

The talk itself was great.  DVF was an incredibly dynamic speaker, which must be due in large part to her background.  Her mother was a Holocaust survivor who emerged from the concentration camp weighing a mere 49 lbs and was told she shouldn't have children.  Thank goodness she didn't listen.  DVF claims her fierce desire to become an independent woman is rooted in her mother's no-fear-allowed attitude.  While bopping around Europe, the royal socialite (she married a legit German prince) made connections and popped out a couple of kids...all while building her empire by age 24.

Her approach to fashion and the iconic wrap dress have revolutionized the way women dress.  All this must be a result of the humor and smarts I was able to see firsthand.  DVF was funny, honest, and intelligent.  She had no problem speaking about the difficulties of watching her brand saturate the market and having to give it a second life or to the state of advertising in publishing and its effect on the fashion industry.  She clearly has her finger on the pulse of the business world.  It was a pleasure sitting in the auditorium, soaking up her experiences as she related them.

If you've never looked into the events at the 92nd Street Y, I encourage you to do so.  Their roster of speakers is impressive.  If you plan early enough, you may just get the chance to spend an hour listening to one of the greats.

During the talk, DVF described how her famous advertising campaign - the one that started it all - evolved from a whim. The whim worked:

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