Haute Event: Diane von Furstenberg Speaks at Harvard Business School

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Diane von Furstenberg was the keynote speaker at the 14th Annual Harris Center Public Forum, which benefits the Harris Center for Education and Advocacy in Eating Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital. The event was held on March 8, 2011 at Harvard Business School in Boston and was hosted by David B. Herzog, MD, the Center’s director and an endowed professor of psychiatry in the field of eating disorders at Harvard Medical School.

After last year’s successful event with such revered panelists as designer Michael Kors, model Natalia Vodianova, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, von Furstenberg had large designer shoes to fill and did not disappoint. She discussed eating disorders in the fashion industry, her role as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and ups and downs in her personal life and career. True to her reputation, she spoke frankly and with the class one would expect of such an esteemed and sophisticated woman.

I arrived early to snag a good seat, and might have even been there sooner except for my wardrobe conundrum: do I wear this designer to go hear her speak? Is that like wearing the T-shirt of a band you are going to see, or more like wearing a label when you attend their fashion show? Earlier in the afternoon I was invited to a shopping event at her Newbury Street store for International Women’s Day, and should have picked up something new from the fun selection! That day 10 percent of sales were donated to the Harris Center, further highlighting the designer’s philanthropic side (along with Bill and Melinda Gates, Diane von Furstenberg and her husband have vowed to donate half of their personal fortunes to charity).

Between discussing her initiatives to promote beauty as health and the fashion industry’s role in eating disorders, she treated us to some of the wisdom she has ruled her life by. She explained that beauty can be found in its imperfections – that each person is beautiful for what is not perfect about them. A strong proponent of empowering women through fashion, Diane von Furstenberg stressed that our most important relationship is with ourselves, that women must be confident, and that we all have the power to live out our dreams. A truly extraordinary woman with a truly inspiring story, we could all use a little more DVF in our lives…and in our closets!

DVF Boston is located at 73 Newbury Street. Boston, MA 02116. 617.247.7300

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