Julia Gets Wise with Diane von Furstenberg

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Today on Wiser Than Me, Julia sits down with 76-year-old fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg. In this conversation, Diane tells Julia why she’s always looked forward to getting older, the one piece of clothing she thinks every woman should have in her closet, and how she says her mother made her fearless. Plus, Julia and her mom Judith debate a questionable fashion choice Julia nearly made.

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Dianne von Furstenberg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judith Bowles

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  00:01

So the big debate when I was 8 or 9 years old was, Do you love Bobby Sherman? Or do you love David Cassidy? These guys were the absolute teen idols of the time and everybody loved one or the other. Naturally. For me, it was Bobby Sherman. I didn’t like Bobby Sherman. I loved Bobby Sherman. He was incredibly, indescribably handsome. He was on a TV show called here come the brides. And he had this full mop of gorgeous hair that was sort of all combed in one direction across his forehead. I mean, it really was just like the Beatles, which was of course, irresistible. And he wore these kind of big blousey very groovy shirts, and he was the still my beating heart. Perfect. And Bobby had a big hit song called Julie, do you love me? Julie? Julie. Julie, do you love me? Julie. Julie. Julie, do you care? Julie. Julie, I think enough me, Julie. Julie, will you still be there? I mean, I didn’t like being called Julie because my name is Julia. But Bobby didn’t know that when he wrote that song. For me. He and I were meant to be together if there had just been some way for us to meet. So at the age of eight, I decided I would write a letter to Bobby Sherman. Not a fan letter, but a personal love letter. I can’t remember now all the details of my letter, but I certainly can remember how it opened because it was so fucking clever. And went like this. Dear Bobby, I think you’re really cute. How’s that for a start? Question mark, with a heart at the bottom of the question mark instead of a period because that’s what the cool second graders did back then. But the real clincher I was going to enclose a photograph, a photograph that was guaranteed god damn guaranteed to make him love me back. Now at this time in my life, I two items of clothing in my closet that I knew were can’t miss sure things. The first was a two piece pink ruffle Gangam bathing suit with bottoms that went all the way up to my waist. In my mind. This was of course a bikini. I have recently looked at some pictures of me in the aforementioned bikini and honestly, with the ruffles on the back. It looks like I’m still wearing a diaper. It really does. The second item from my closet, a pair of vinyl white, almost knee high gogo boots. Do you hear what I just said? GoGo boots. I knew that either one of these would probably have been enough to seal the deal with Bobby. But to gather the bikini and the boots. Forget it. He was as good as mine. So I put on my bikini and my GoGo boots and I walked my eight year old ass downstairs with a camera. And I told my mom that I needed her to take a picture of me because I wanted to send it along with My personal love letter to Bobby Sherman. You guys do see, you have to understand something I knew. I just knew in my heart that when Bobby saw this picture and read my note, we would be together for the rest of our lives. We were meant to be together. So anyway, I asked my mom to take the picture and struck a pose. And she laughed. Which I have to say I’m still quite pissed about. She didn’t even acknowledge the infallibility of my plan. She laughed. And then she said no. Which of course makes sense now considering I’d essentially asked her to help me send what they might now call a sexist or worse, but back then I was so insulted. I threw a proper tantrum. Big time. I may have been eight but this was like a two year old on the floor screaming pounding fists, tantrum. I remembered so vividly. God I was so mad. And it really is a shame that she didn’t take that picture because God I really wish I had it now. I was so fierce standing there in my bikini and go go boots convinced all I needed to make my dreams come true with this one special outfit. This was the first time I understood or really thought about the power of a look. I still feel that way when I put on the right dress for the Oscars or any red carpet show or feel exactly right in an outfit for a fucking hike. That’s the power of fashion how you feel inside of it. When everything is working and you know it, what a feeling. And so today, of course, we’re talking to Dianne von Furstenberg. Hi, I’m Julia Louis Dreyfus and this is WISER THAN ME. A show where each week I get schooled by women who are wiser than me. Well hold on to your freakin rap dresses people because our guest today has been at the forefront of the fashion world for over five decades. And guess what? She’s not done yet. Not even close. Remember how not that long ago, everything all of a sudden was a brand. Do you know what I mean? Shoes, computers, entertainment people. Everything’s like a brand now. Well, way before that decades even Dianne von Furstenberg became one of the original brands by creating clothes that celebrate the strength and independence of women. She had the vision to see exactly where women wanted to go in fashion and she turned that vision into a global empire. One chic little outfit at a time. And then she banked her success and she started doing all kinds of good for all kinds of people. She is the founder of the Diller von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the DVF awards, an incredible supporter of the Women’s Cancer Research Fund, and is the former chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and so much more. She has the brains, the beauty, the confidence and the skill to make it in an industry that caters mainly to women, but is still most often run by men. She’s willing to share herself with us as an author, designer, and philanthropist. So please welcome a woman who is wiser than me, Dianne von Furstenberg.

Dianne von Furstenberg  07:11

Hello. Wow, that was quite an entrance.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  07:15

That’s quite an entrance you’ve just made. So are you comfortable? If I say your real age, Diane?

Dianne von Furstenberg  07:21

Oh, yes, I’m 76. But I really, really should be 300. Well, because I’ve had a very full life. I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve traveled lots of people lots of so I feel like there’s no way I can make myself even a day younger. Because I feel like I have lived very much every moment.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  07:45

It’s so nice. But how do you feel inside? What age do you feel? Do you feel 300? No way.

Dianne von Furstenberg  07:51

No. Well, I feel I feel my age. I feel that I have lived every single day of my life in that life, in that short life, even though I’m 76 I have piled up so much that I certainly cannot feel any younger. I am who I am.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:14

So I get the sense you love being your age.

Dianne von Furstenberg  08:17

Well, I love it. I love being alive. Yeah, that’s how long I have been alive.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:24

Got it. Of course, I’m going to join the millions of people who want to talk about the wrap dress. So indulge me for a second. There’s such a universality to the wrap dress. It changed my life. That wrap dress.

Dianne von Furstenberg  08:40

What’s your story?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  08:41

Okay, here’s my story. I was born in the early 60s. So by the time I became a teenager, in the, you know, 70s being super thin was the only way to be, and I was not. I was a little bit heavyset, but I had a small waist. Okay. And I’m going to tell you honestly, that your dress was I think the first sort of fashion II thing that I wore that made me feel like oh, I don’t mind my body so much.

Dianne von Furstenberg  09:12

Oh, nice. That’s good. […]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:16

I’m gonna say I was 16-15?

Dianne von Furstenberg  09:19

Uh huh. Do you remember your first souvenir? Was it? What is it that you did in that dress?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:26

Well, I had multiple of your dresses. I had many of them. Here’s one of my favorites, which I’m going to ask my team to pull up to show you on the computer right now. This is me in your dress.

Dianne von Furstenberg  09:38

Oh, you look hot. You look super hot. I want, I need that picture. I want a copy of that big sheet. It needs to go in my archives.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  09:54

Oh, absolutely. I’m well let me tell you just for our listeners. I’m wearing of course the wrap dress and it’s In the fabulous leopard print, and actually, you know where I was going, I was going to a Paul McCartney concert. He was performing at some benefit or something in Los Angeles. And I wore this. And I think I even still have the bra that’s underneath it. It’s still in my possession. Thank you, oh, I’m so happy that you, that’s made my week that you said that in. So listen, let’s talk about clothes for a second. Diane, are there any staples you think a woman should have in her closet?

Dianne von Furstenberg  10:35

I think the most important thing is to be true to yourself, and to lie to yourself as much as possible. So obviously, the staple should be what you are comfortable in. And something that represents you at the best way. Or that allows you to be yourself, you know, and listen, and when I created that dress, I had no idea that I would, I would eventually sell 10s of millions of them. But it did something, it awakens things in people. And I don’t know. So you know, I mean, I created the wrap dress, but truly is the dress that created me, because it gave me my freedom, it gave me my independence, it gave me my identity. So it’s one of those things. But as far as I think every woman, like you have a small waist. So wrapped dresses, obviously look good on you, I don’t really have a small waist. So I go for more fluid. But every one of us find something that we have a tendency to go to, to accentuate like you mean, yeah, and it becomes your personality and your style. And so, you know, for DVF it’s about making clothes, you know, thinking about all the different morphology of a woman, you know, with the one with who likes to accentuate the waist, the one who doesn’t, then therefore you go fluid. And the ones who are very body come, who like to show the entire body, then you deal with the fabric, fabrication is so important. And then of course, we have colors, and we have prints. So in DVF, the colors are our letters, the prints are the words, the fabrication and the silhouette makes the sentence.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  12:38

Nice. But do you have other staples that you like in your closet? You know, I’m thinking of something like some people in the past have said me, you every woman needs to have a perfect white blouse or something. Do you think that’s stupid? Or do you think that makes sense?

Dianne von Furstenberg  12:53

No, I don’t think that’s stupid. I don’t think I have a white blouse, actually.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:00

Do you want me to get you a white blouse?

Dianne von Furstenberg  13:02

No, not particularly. You know, but I can tell you. I would say everybody needs a black turtleneck.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:12

This is good to know. Let’s talk about aging and body changes and how to embrace all of that. How have you embraced all of that? As you’ve gotten older?

Dianne von Furstenberg  13:25

Okay, first of all, the word aging, I would change the word aging and say living.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:33

Thank you. That’s perfect.

Dianne von Furstenberg  13:36

Age is life. Yes. So instead of saying, How old are you? People should say, how long have you lived?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  13:45

Oh my god, yes. I’m gonna change this.

Dianne von Furstenberg  13:48

And automatically it changes everything. Even to a child. How long have you lived in boy? I have lived 11 years. Wow. That’s impressive. Yeah. And then if you ask an older person, I have lived 76 years. Wow. You know, so aging for me is life. It is not a decay. It’s a continuation of life.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  14:16

Yes. It’s a completely different framing, and I applaud it.

Dianne von Furstenberg  14:21

So for me, aging is a proof of living. And also, if you have if you manage to be my age, well, it’s already I mean, I thought I was gonna die before I was 30. Because I had done so much in my 20s that I didn’t think that it was possible to continue like that. And so I thought that only thing I had two children. By the time I was 24. I had a successful business. I bought my house. So I did basically everything before I was 30. So I used to saying that that was be the end. And then it turned out not to be.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  15:06

I love that framing. How long have you lived? I’m really going to apply that to my the way I speak now I think it’s brilliant actually. Well, then I’m going to rephrase this question for you. Do you think there are things that women who have lived a long time should not wear? And here’s why I asked you this question. Let me tell you something. So I was on vacation, right? And you know how when you go on vacation, and you go into, you get sort of caught up in the culture of where you are, and maybe what people are wearing. And maybe it’s in a different country or whatever. Anyway, long story short, I was in this shop, and they were selling these cute, cool lots. And I put them on, and I’d forgotten how because I work cool. That’s when I was a little girl. But I had forgotten how unbelievably comfortable cool lots were. And I was like, oh my god, I think I’ve got to own these. But I wasn’t sure. And I thought maybe this is just a moment, I’m going to put them on hold. I’m gonna go have some lunch. So I put them on hold. And then I went to go have lunch. And I was thinking about should I buy him or not? And as I’m female that one of my teeth fell out of my mouth. I don’t know why. But all of a sudden, my tooth fell out. And I thought that was a sign that perhaps I had lived a little bit too long to start running around in culottes.

Dianne von Furstenberg  16:28

Actually I think you could wear culottes.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:32

What if you don’t have any teeth in your mouth? No, I’m kidding. You think you can wear culottes until you’re 90?

Dianne von Furstenberg  16:37

Yeah, I mean, it depends how should they are. I mean, I don’t think you should try to look sexy. Because that looks ridiculous.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  16:46

You mean culottes or generally speaking, what are you talking about?

Dianne von Furstenberg  16:49

No, just in behavior. I think it’s beautiful to live, to live who you are. And you are, you know, you are accumulation of all your life. So the most important thing is to be true to yourself. As long as you are true to yourself, you are free.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:10

By the way, you know, on your Instagram, the picture that you posted of yourself and your bathing suit, you look so beautiful, and so strong. And I just wanted to applaud you for it. I just thought it was inspirational.

Dianne von Furstenberg  17:24

That was two years ago, I think, for myself. 74th birthday. Yeah, yeah, I have a tendency to think that at least in my case, when I look at myself in the mirror, I find my strength there. So somehow, when I look at myself in the mirror, I like it. And then sometimes I see a picture of me and I say oh my god, that’s not how I feel like.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  17:53

What about this word? Well, again, I’m going to use this word aging, which I shouldn’t. But I will for this question. I wanted to ask you about that, you know, that phrase, Aging Gracefully. I feel like there’s a lot to unpack there, because..

Dianne von Furstenberg  18:08

Just call it living gracefully.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  18:12

But it has a lot of different meanings to different people. And the idea of how to present yourself as a person who has lived a long time and, you know, and the judgment about plastic surgery or not to have plastic surgery.

Dianne von Furstenberg  18:31

I don’t judge anyone, everyone has the right to do whatever they want. Right? I have a tendency, since I’m a little girl to find a tiny bit destroyed look attractive? Because because it’s lived. Yes, you know, so I like the left. I never wanted to be a little girl. I always wanted to be a woman. I always aged myself. By the time I got to be 20. My mother said, How does it feel to be 20. And I remember I told her, I’ve been saying I’m 20 for the last five years. So I’ve never wanted to be younger. I always look forward to be old.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  19:18

I think that it’s incredible, because I’ve had the exact same experience. Exactly. I always wanted to get older. I really did. It was like even I have to tell you, this is gonna sound strange, but even when I started to develop as a teenager, and my breasts started coming in, and I noticed that they were very upright, and I used to push them down, because I wanted them to look like my mother’s breasts that would hang a little bit more, and I would push them down because it drove me crazy. And it’s funny you say that.

Dianne von Furstenberg  19:48

I used to put Kleenex in my bra because I didn’t have any breasts. So you know, we never like what we are.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  19:58

More with Diane von Furstenberg after the break. Let’s talk about being a woman in power. And how our culture here particularly can make you doubt yourself. What has that experience been like for you? I mean, how did you become a confident leader? Is that something you had to cultivate? Or it came to naturally?

Dianne von Furstenberg  20:35

Well, I never really thought of me as a leader. I prefer to think that I’m an inspira. You know, I prefer to inspire rather than lead.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  20:47

But aren’t you in charge, Diane?

Dianne von Furstenberg  20:49

Yes. But you know, I mean, to be in charge, is first and foremost, a commitment to ourselves, is owning who we are, yeah, we own our imperfection. They become assets, we own our vulnerability, we turn it into strength, yes. So to be in charge, is really got to do with yourself. And everything has got to do with the relationship you have with yourself. Because the most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. Once you have that, any other relationship is a plus, and not a must. And I never want to be needing ever to anyone. For me, the most important thing is to be self reliant. My children. I mean, for me, loving your children is making them independent. That’s how you love your children. Because you equip them for life.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  21:52

What would be a vulnerability that you would own that would then somehow become an asset?

Dianne von Furstenberg  21:58

I mean, you know, I mean, I was very successful, extremely young, right? By 26-27, I was on the cover of all the magazines. I mean, I was an entrepreneur and this, but you go up, you go up, what goes up must go down. Yes, you face difficulties, you go through all kinds of things. And what is important is not to pretend you’re not, but facing it, facing the obstacles, facing the difficulties, and owning them, and dealing with them. And then all of a sudden, you turn them into assets.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  22:33

I don’t get the sense you hold back how you’re feeling? Do you let people know how you’re feeling?

Dianne von Furstenberg  22:38

You see, the thing that explains who I am, uh huh, is the fact that 18 months before I was born, my mother was liberated from Auschwitz. She weighed 49 pounds. She was a skeleton in the midst of a field of ashes. She couldn’t move, she could not move. She went back to Belgium. Her mother couldn’t believe that she had survived. She was 21 years old. And she fed her like a little bird every, you know, every 10 minutes. And within six months, she looked normal. Her fiance, who had been in Switzerland came, they met, they get married. And the doctor said, no matter what, you cannot have a child for at least two years, because you will not make it and your child will not be normal. And sure enough, she got pregnant. And I was born 9 months later. And in a sense, you could say I was not normal. But but the fact that I was so close to that, my existence, my mere birth was a triumph over misery. Yes. And therefore, just the fact that I was born was a trial. I had one just because I was born. And my mother used to say, God save me so that I can give you life by giving you life you gave me my life back. You are my torch of freedom. So I was born with a torch of freedom in my hands, which, as a little girl could be difficult. My mother, for example, would never allow me to be afraid. If I was afraid of the dark. She would lock me in a dark closet. Today. She could be arrested for it. But she made me feel as and I’m thankful that she did that. She never wanted me to be a victim. Never be a victim no matter what happens. And and that’s how you build your character. Because the only thing that you have complete control of the only thing is your character. You could lose your health. You could lose your wealth. You could lose your job, you could lose your husband, you could lose your family. You To lose everything, but you never lose your character. And that character is the little house inside yourself. That is called strength.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:11

And did you take those lessons that you’ve learned from your mother? And did you apply them to being a mother yourself?

Dianne von Furstenberg  25:18

Yes. And my mother was also alive when my children were growing up. My mother died. They were already. Both my children were parents. Oh, wow. She gave that survival strength to them as well. Yes. And we all have that incredible surviving thing.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  25:38

Is there an example that you can recall in your life where you’ve confronted fear? And looked it in the face and overcome it? Is there anything specific that you could tell us about?

Dianne von Furstenberg  25:49

I mean, I don’t know. I mean, 28 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I mean, that’s never pleasant. But I dealt with it, you know, I say, Okay, this is what happened. This is what the doctor can do. This is what I can do. And I just dealt with, right. And I mean, you know, my mother told me fear is not an option. So fear is always pushed away. Because, I mean, if you push the fear away, everything stays the same. But at least you could deal with that, without the fear. You know, right. And I am, I have a new trick. A friend of mine lately was, she was going to very, very difficult medical tests, and it was very painful. And she called me she’s in California. I’m in New York. And she calls me and it’s 12 o’clock for me. And I don’t know what to tell her. And so I don’t know what happened to me. I said, You know what, tomorrow when you do that, push your fear away, push your emotion, and just go through it. Like it was you were watching a documentary. And the next day, she called me and she said, you know, it was so helpful. So now that’s my new trick.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  27:09

It’s stepping outside yourself. And looking back in, changing your lens. Yep, I had cancer too. And I was terrified. I didn’t have your your mother’s advice in my ear. But what I did do was take a one step at a time exam. Can I approach it as if it were something to be approached in manageable parts? And that’s exactly what I did. You know? Talk about relaxing. How do you relax? What do you do to relax?

Dianne von Furstenberg  27:41

Relax, also is a weird word. Empty the noise. You know, it’s empty the corridor. Silence. Solitude. That is, what is the most restorative things, so I need to be alone? I need to be in nature. Yes. Solitude. Silence. All of that is very restored.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:07

Yeah, I find the same. I’m a big hiker. And if you go by yourself, it’s an entirely different experience.

Dianne von Furstenberg  28:19

I swim a lot in the ocean very far. And therefore I’m alone, between the sea and the sky. And I’m just this tiny little dot. And I go into deep meditation. And that is probably the most restorative thing.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  28:37

You know, I’ve taken up swimming recently to let me ask you something. What do you do about the sun when you’re out there? Do you wear like a full body UV suit? I got one of those too, that blocks the sun.

Dianne von Furstenberg  28:51

know, otherwise, I would burn because I swim two hours at the time, so I couldn’t I could not do that.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  29:00

My God in heaven. What does that mean? How many miles you’re going? That’s a couple of miles, is it not?

Dianne von Furstenberg  29:05

No, no, it’s maybe one mile. Yeah, maybe one mile. I mean, we’re very lucky we have a boat. And so I go far in the ocean in the in the sea. And there’s a tiny little boat that follows me but very far. And I go through all the meditation. I have the sutras that […]. So I have this, this routine that I go, and by the time I’m finished with a whole routine, and then they they become prayers, and then I tell them, I think about each one of my children, my grandchildren. So the whole ceremony of my meditation takes about an hour and a half because then I turn and I say, how long have I been there? And usually they say, between an hour 10 and another 30 and an hour and then […]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:01

Have you been meditating a long time your whole life?

Dianne von Furstenberg  30:04

I shouldn’t meditate more, more consciously. But I do empty. I do empty my mind. Yes, I do that. Otherwise I couldn’t be I hate. I hate the noise. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like any of that. And I love nature. I mean, nature for me is everything. As long as I have nature on one side, and my phone and the Internet.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  30:37

My conversation with Diane Von Furstenberg continues after the break. Let me ask you this question. Was there ever a time in your life that you struggled financially or were you up but you sort of hit it big? From the get go?

Dianne von Furstenberg  31:01

No, I struggle. Yeah, I did struggle

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  31:05

In the beginning. You mean before the wrap dress or in between?

Dianne von Furstenberg  31:08

No, no. I mean, I, you know, after my big success, you know, yes, it was. Yeah. I had a lot of very stressful moment. Yes, yeah. But you know, you forget, you forget the bad things like you forget the physical pain, you forget, right? Once it’s done, you forget it. So, and every single thing, every negative experience in your life, ends up being an experience and turns into something. That’s another trick that I always tell my my friends, you know, sometimes, you know, my friend, I mean, I don’t know they do a movie, or they do a book. And it’s not all their companies going bankruptcy, they get bad press. And they just feel so bad. And I always say the same thing. I said, this moment, that is so hard, will be the best anecdote. When you write your book or you tell you’re dead.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  32:11

Turn it into an asset, right? It’s funny, because not to keep going back to this. But when I had cancer, and it’s and it’s funny, you say that which was just very wicked. And I was in production, we had to shut down production, right? Well, for almost a year. And because I was, you know, normally I would have kept something like that completely private into myself, because it was it because it is so private. But in this case, I really had to make a statement about it. Because everybody had to stop working on this show. I was doing Veep on HBO. And so I had to make it public. Well, here’s the positive thing that came out of that was that I was talking about insurance and how critical insurance obviously is for everyone, and everyone deserves to have it. And out of that sprung an opportunity for me to raise awareness and raise funds for women.

Dianne von Furstenberg  33:09

Exactly. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And so you and your experience, and especially when you know you are a person, a public person, yeah. Like your job is a purpose. So when something what is inspiring to other people is not your success, your me or your asker or whatever? What is inspiring is when you talk about your vulnerability, that is inspiring.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  33:40

Are you gonna retire at some point or you’re just keeping up this pace of fabulousness?

Dianne von Furstenberg  33:46

You change. I mean, now, I’m, you know, I’m born on New Year’s Eve. Well, it’s very neat. You know, when the year is over, it’s over. Yeah. So as a result of that, I always do new year’s resolution by Bla. So now, you know, now I’m entering the winter of my life, which could be a short winter, a long winter, I don’t know that. But it’s the winter of my life. And therefore at this time of my life, it is more important than ever, to really focus on using my voice, my knowledge, my experience, my wisdom, my connection, my resources, in order to help others and to kind of, you know, improve the world and society to the best we can. And right now it’s so discouraging. The world seems so corrupt and so awful, that I think we have to look for the light, even if it’s just a tiny little bit of light and build around the light. Cherish the light shed the light, because at the end, it is the light that pushes the darkness away.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  34:59

This year. We are. I don’t know if it’s this year no, it wasn’t it was last year, we lost the spectacular Vogue journalist and editor, Andre Leon Talley. I know who is a very good friend of yours. What what did he mean to you? And also, can you talk about endings and how you deal with endings?

Dianne von Furstenberg  35:20

Okay, so Andre was, first of all, my friend, he was my friend for over 45 years, he happened to be also a formidable person. But if you talking about ending, and it was very sad that he died in January 18, last year, but strangely enough, his life has become even bigger, really, since he died, you know. Well the recognition that he has received? Yes, and the recognition of his book and his work. And, you know, he was almost evicted from his house a few months before he died, but didn’t. And now the street names his name, you know, so there is no such thing as ending. Its evolution. We are all part of nature. And we evolve into something else.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:19

Yeah. But I mean, but what about your sadness when he passed? I mean, you must have been very, I mean, he sounds like such an extraordinary human being.

Dianne von Furstenberg  36:28

Yes, yes. But that’s it. You know, life is a journey. Death is the destination, we all die. Yeah. So I mean, there’s not a day in my life that I don’t think about that. And that is my way of dealing with it. So, you know, I mean, that happens to everyone.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  36:48

We’ve all got it in common. We’re all headed there. That’s right. God, you’re so gracious with your time, I want to ask you just a couple more quick questions, and you can just give me whatever thing pops into your head. Is there something you’d go back and tell yourself at 21?

Dianne von Furstenberg  37:04

Go for it.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:06

Is there something you go back and say yes to?

Dianne von Furstenberg  37:09

The only thing you regret in life is the things you don’t do. And I did pretty much all I could do.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  37:19

What’s the best business advice you ever received? Or the worst? Or both?

Dianne von Furstenberg  37:25

Oh, I know. My big fault in business is that I enabled people and I, because I feel like I can make things happen. I think that everyone can make things happen. But, you know, I don’t think I’m a great business woman. I think I am a very good manifester. I can manifest things, I can make things happen. I am somewhat a little bit of a visionary. But I’m definitely not an executive. Who I do want to meet.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:00

That’s the sense I have. Is that true?

Dianne von Furstenberg  38:02

Yeah, yes. And manifester. I like the I Am I believe in manifestation, you know, you have a vision, and you make it happen.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  38:11

Can you give me an example of when that happened in your life?

Dianne von Furstenberg  38:15

Oh, my God, everything about my life. Everything. Like for example, now I have this vision that my last acts, Venice, the city of Venice is going to play a very large role in in my life. Why? Because I fell in love with Venice, not only for its beauty, but for its history. 1600 years of infamy. Venice is a woman. And she’s had the most extraordinary life. She’s invented everything. She invented the banking system. She invented a banknote she invented diplomacy, the passport, the custom, everything that we use in the modern world was invented in balance. And I had this vision that I think vanish should be a place where we kind of elevate the debate and where people meet. And I see Venice as a think tank. And so that’s my vision. Hi, I would like to spend a lot of my winter.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:26

I hope you do it, I know you’ll do it.

Dianne von Furstenberg  39:28

And I’ll invite you. Yeah, because you are an idea person. You are. You’re also definitely a manifester. You are a very, a very generous manifester, you, you have ideas and you make them happen. And I would be very curious to hear you or to interview you, for that matter. We could we could turn around the next time.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  39:56

That would be a superb I gotta say it’s been kind of dreamy talking to you. It’s been very dreamy talking to you.

Dianne von Furstenberg  40:05

Well, thank you very much for asking me and continue to be the woman you are. You are definitely inspiring.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:28

Okay, another podcast done and dusted. Wow, there is so much to tell my mom. Okay, I’m gonna call her right now

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:42


Judith Bowles  40:43

Oh, Hi, honey.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:44

Hi. So, I just talked to Diane Von Furstenberg.

Judith Bowles  40:50

I hope the red dress is still there.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  40:55

Yeah, speaking of the wrap dress, Mom, did you have a wrap dress mommy?=

Judith Bowles  40:59

I did have a wrap dress. And I was trying to think they came out in?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:06

They came out in ’74.

Judith Bowles  41:09

So I had a wrap dress. And I was trying to remember what it seemed to me that it had some kind of geometric print on it. Yeah. And then one that was sort of gray. And was sort of maybe one color or two colors, something like that. I loved it. But it made I don’t know why maybe feel a little self conscious. Why mommy? Well, I don’t know. Maybe I was just so used to wearing pants. You know, it was just, it was such a wonderful dress. Maybe I didn’t I can’t remember but I just somehow felt a little self conscious.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  41:38

Well, it was a very sexy dress. So maybe that’s why you felt self conscious. Because it’s not like you’re wearing pants all the time. But I told her this story and I gotta say she did not find it as funny as I do. I don’t think I told you this. But recently, I was on vacation and I saw a pair of culottes and I wasn’t sure if I should get them or not. Right. It was like when am I gonna wear cool lats I don’t play golf. I just but they were so comfortable. And so I put them on hold and I went to go have lunch. And then one of my teeth fell out of my mouth. Wet during lunch. And I thought oh, this is maybe not a good sign. A woman whose teeth are falling from her mouth should not perhaps […]

Judith Bowles  42:27

Excuse me, but I’m very worried about that. Why did the tooth fall out?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:30

I don’t know. Mom, I cracked a molar. Who knows. But the next thing I know I was practically coughing on it.

Judith Bowles  42:38

Whole teeth fall out or just the top of?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  42:39

Yes, no, the whole the whole thing came out. I was all anyway. I had to have surgery on my mouth or something you know, I mean, it all worked out fine and say look, I’m opening your mouth. You can see all my teeth. I’ve got all my all my choppers.

Judith Bowles  42:58

Not some terrible gum disease or something like that?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:01

I don’t have any gum disease. I’ve got my teeth. And I’ll tell you what I don’t have is a pair of culottes that I don’t have.

Judith Bowles  43:19

Very comfy.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:21

That’s the thing. I’m back in love with them too. They are they are really comfortable. I don’t know why it’s the shorts underneath the skirt. It’s like a magic combo. You know?

Judith Bowles  43:31

Shorts underneath the skirt.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:33

Yes, that’s what culottes are.

Judith Bowles  43:35

Oh, I thought culottes are those three quarter pants that were wide.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:40

Well I don’t know what the fuck they are. Oh, I’m talking about maybe I’m talking about a skort I guess as I’m being told. It’s this whole time I was talking about a skirt that is shorts attach.

Judith Bowles  43:53

Oh, no, honey, you don’t need that.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  43:57

Oh, that’s hilarious. All right. Well, mommy, I’ll talk to you soon.

Judith Bowles  44:04

Okay, good. Good. Be well and love to everybody and to you especially.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus  44:09

Okay, love you mommy.

CREDITS  44:20

There’s more WISER THAN ME with Lemonada Premium, subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. WISER THAN ME is a production of Lemonada Media created and hosted by me Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease , Alex McOwen and Hoja Lopez. Brad Hall as a consulting producer. Our senior editor is Tracy Clayton. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paula Kaplan and me. The show is mixed by Kat Yore and Johnny Vince Evans and music by Henry Hall. Special thanks to Charlotte Chrisman Cohen, Ivan Kuraev, and Kegan Zema. And, of course, my mother Judith Bowles. Follow wiser than me wherever you get your podcasts and hey, if there’s an old lady in your life, listen up.

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