Diane von Furstenberg. Photo by Jesse Frohman

Diane von Furstenberg on taming your hair, growing your confidence and Owning It

The fashion designer, philanthropist and author recalls the bad hair days of her youth and what they taught her about being herself

Having a bad hair year? You’re not alone. One of the smaller sacrifices many of us have had to make recently is forgoing a trip or ten to the local barber or hair salon. However, one prominent style icon argues that we should learn to love our unruly heads of hair.

That person is Diane von Furstenberg - a hugely successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and fashion designer. Newsweek magazine declared her 'the most remarkable woman since Coco Chanel’ and she was president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 2006 until 2019.

Despite this success, she has certainly had her ups and downs. As she explains in her new book of pithy advice, Own It: The Secret to Life, there was a time, as a young girl in Belgium, that she really hated her dark, curly hair.

"All the other girls had long, blond, straight hair, and mine was unmanageable, especially with the constant Brussels rain,” she writes. “I spent long hours ironing it and avoiding humidity.”


Pages from Own It
Pages from Own It


That changed a few years later, when she found fame, and had her picture taken by Ara Gallant, the famous hairdresser and-photographer, for the cover of Interview magazine.  

"My hair was long and straight, and I felt beautiful,” she recalls. “After we finished, he took a water sprayer and started wetting my hair. “What are you doing?” I screamed. I was horrified. Ara was smiling, reassuring me that we already had the cover but insisting he wanted to try something else.

“I surrendered and posed for another twenty minutes while my wet hair was drying, naturally revealing its curls. A few days later he proudly proposed to the magazine two cover trials: one with straight hair and another one much wilder with my wet, curly hair. The wild one won with enthusiasm, and since that day I have worn my hair the way nature intended. I realized curly hair was who I was. Whether I liked it or not, I had to own it. Like a rite of passage, this acceptance of myself changed my life!”


Signed copies of Own It are available in our store
Signed copies of Own It are available in our store


In her new book, the footnote to this entry points us towards another piece of advice, this time about confidence. “Confidence is contagious both inside and out—it makes us beautiful,” von Furstenberg declares. “It is the form of expression that shows we fully accept who we are . . . it is owning it!” Don’t you agree? Then, whether you go curly or straight, why don’t you own it too? You can order a copy of Diane's new book here