Egon Von Furstenberg
Prince Egon Von Furstenberg was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1946. His father, Tassilo, came from a family line of old German nobility while his mother, Clara, was a member of the Agnelli family, founders of Fiat, the leading Italian car manufacturing group. As a young man, Egon Von Furstenberg traveled between Italy, Austria and the United States, the latter of which he considered his second home. He was educated in Switzerland where he obtained an Economics degree at Geneva University.
Destined to a brilliant career at New York’s Chase Manhattan Bank, Egon decided instead to dedicate himself to his great passion, fashion design. He applied and started attending classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City’s garment district, while working at Macy’s department store. He began his career in fashion as a buyer for Macy’s and later started designing for plus-sized women.
In 1969, Von Furstenberg married Diane Halfin. They had two children and divorced soon after. Diane Von Furstenberg started her own separate design career with support from her husband. Some even argue her iconic “wrap-dress” overshadowed her husband’s accomplishments. However Egon went on to show his first line of pullovers and men’s shirts for Bloomingdale’s in 1975, and the Egon von Furstenberg label was born. The company was first established in 1977 in the United States, but then moved to Italy in 1983, opening its first headquarters in Milan as Egon von Furstenberg S.r.l.
With a highly eclectic and glamorous personality, Von Furstenberg became well known for his other accomplishments beside couture. In 1978 he wrote a best-selling book titled The Power Look, a basic guide to fashion and design. Soon after came The Power Look at Home: Decorating for Men, a bachelor’s interior design handbook, which inspired the interior design firm he opened in 1981. He also made his debut on television shows and in movies.
By 1990, he had introduced wedding dresses and evening gowns into his collection and was presenting his work through fashion shows in Europe and the USA. He opened his first atelier in Rome in 1991, a year which marked the kick off of Von Furstenberg haute couture. One memorable show during Rome’s fashion week gained publicity as his models showed his work walking down the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna instead of a traditional catwalk.
Egon Von Furstenberg died in 2004 at the age of 57. He was being treated at Spallanzani Hospital in Rome for liver cancer, caused by a severe Hepatitis C infection. There were claims in the popular press that AIDS was the actual cause of his death, as in later interviews Von Furstenberg had announced he was bisexual.
His children, Alex and Tatiana, keep the label alive today, preserving his legacy of elegance and quality. In the last years of his life, his children moved forward with their father’s creative consultancy, focusing on a variety of trading licenses that dealt with manufacturing and distributing products for different targets and market segments. Thanks to Egon’s rich creativity, the Egon von Furstenberg label is still a worldwide powerhouse in the fashion industry today.
Egon Von Furstenberg S.r.l.Via Sottocorno, 1
20129 Milano, Italy
Tel: [+39] 02 7600 0617
Fax: [+39] 02 7600 0681