30 March 2017 13:30 - 15:00
The University of Antwerp has formally confered its honorary degrees on Thursday 30 March 2017. One of them was fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. She has received an honorary degree for general merit for her extraordinary achievements in the field of fashion and entrepreneurship, combined with her commitment to women’s rights and human rights in general.
Prior to the ceremony we invited you to A Talk with Diane von Furstenberg.
© Steve Benisty Whitewall
Diane von Furstenberg entered the world of American fashion in 1970 when she arrived in New York from Europe with a suitcase full of jersey dresses she had designed. In 1974, she created the wrap dress, which came to symbolize power and independence for an entire generation of women. By 1976, she had sold more than five million of her famous dresses and was featured on the cover of Newsweek.
In 2005, Diane received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her impact on fashion. Now as the council's chairman, she dedicates herself to fostering emerging talent and has grown the organization to over 500 members.
Diane's commitment to empowering women is also expressed through philanthropy and mentorship. In 2010, with the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Diane established the DVF Awards to honor and provide grants to women who have displayed leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to their causes. In 2014, the iconic wrap dress was celebrated with the "Journey of a Dress" exhibition in Los Angeles, and she also published her memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be. In 2015, she was named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People.
Diane is on the boards of Vital Voices, an organization that supports female leaders and entrepreneurs around the world; the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation; and The Shed, the new center for cultural innovation in New York City. And, as a vocal member of the community, she was actively involved in the campaign to save the historic High Line railway and to develop The High Line into what it is today.