Diane von Furstenberg visits Montreal’s C2 creative conference and explains why fashion trends are like sugar and salt

Diane von Furstenberg C2 Montreal
Photography by Allen McEachern

Diane von Furstenberg C2 Montreal
Photography by Allen McEachern

The second edition of C2-MTL (Montreal’s annual creative conference) was abuzz this year with fashion speakers and events. Highlights included a talk with makeup mogul Bobbi Brown and the late night Twelve-ID show that featured the city’s top créateurs: Philippe Dubuc, Marie Saint Pierre, Denis Gagnon, By Thomas, Barilà, Anastasia Lomonova, Harricana, Unttld, Duy, Martin Lim, Nadya Toto and Ying Gao.

FASHION also attended an interview with larger-than-life Diane von Furstenberg who dazzled a packed room of spectators with her long legs, iconic style and words of empowerment. The latest DVF scoop is that she’s working on a new line of accessories and handbags, writing a book called The Woman I Wanted To Be (expected to hit stores next Mother’s Day), an exhibit in L.A. next year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the wrap dress and a new television show.

Here are some choice DVF quotes of the day:

On her early, unexpected celebrity
“I started very young. I was 22. By the time I was 28 I was at the peak of my success. As a matter of fact, I thought I would retire by the time I was 30. And now I’m still here. It all happened so fast. I was a young European girl who happened to live an American dream.”

On her comeback in the 1990s
“I began to see young hip girls, models and actresses buying old dresses in vintage shops and that’s what encouraged me to start again. Then I started my second career. See, my first career the goal was because I wanted to be independent. My second career the goal was to show myself and the world that it hadn’t been an accident the first time around… So now I’m starting my third career… I’m starting the legacy period.”

On remaining current
“I’m not sure about this ‘reinventing.’ I’m actually the same person I always was. I’m just older. It’s not really that I reinvent myself, it’s I fall down and boom I come back again.”

On her life’s calling
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to be – and I became that woman by doing other things for other women. My mission in life…is to tell every woman you can be the woman you want to be.”

On designing for women
“For me design is really about function. What I want the DVF product to be is a friend. You know, when a woman wakes up in the morning and her eyes are swollen and she has her period and she feels lousy she opens the closet she goes for the friends and that’s what I want to be.”

On her advice to young designers
“To go up is hard. To stay up is harder. It’s every day’s work. The truth is that there are no shortcuts. You have to put in the work. You have to have a product that’s distinguishable and you have to be sure that you clean it up all the time and that is stays relevant.”

On the success of the wrap dress
Translated from French. “[It’s] very funny because in French the wrap dress is an envelope dress – and it really filled my envelope. You can’t say this in English; nobody would understand.”

On predicting fashion trends
“It’s like food. If you eat a lot of salt, you want something sweet.”

On the “intersection between fashion and reality TV”
Fashion has become such a huge industry and media has such an impact on it and social media has a huge impact on it. Project Runway was incredible for fashion. You know why? Because it actually explained to the average public a little bit of the business of fashion and the challenges that a designer has. Shows that I like the least are the shows that objectify women and that’s why I’m planning something that will not.”