Why Ageing Made Diane Von Furstenberg Feel More Beautiful Than Ever

Diane_Von_Furstenberg

Thanks to a never-ending stream of advertising featuring heavily photoshopped men and women, society as a rule shuns ageing. We flip through magazines, turn on the TV and even look at the boardrooms of major corporations and realize that sadly, many people view women’s worth as determined by their appearance.

Why are old men allowed to anchor the nightly news in the US, but not old women? Why are prepubescent girls marketing designer clothes to adult women in brand campaigns? Will this trend ever change? The answer to that question is actually not the answer we are looking for, because it just means we are doing the same thing: looking to an industry to validate our worth.

Our value is determined by who we are within, and sometimes it takes a while for us to learn how to shut out the noise of the world (which increasingly gets louder and more present thanks to social media and the internet) to be able to find our confidence.

Iconic designer Diane Von Furstenberg, 67, is one of those women who has struggled with the concept of being an ageing woman in a world which celebrates youth. She shared an except of her new book ‘The Woman I Want To Be‘ with Vogue magazine and talks about why getting older is not something she is afraid of anymore.

“Aging is out of your control. How you handle it, though, is in your hands.”

Diane_Von_Furstenberg

Her twenties were the start of her success in life: getting married, having two kids and becoming a well-known designer by 30. She says she had confidence, but never felt beautiful. In her 40s she sold her business and started to doubt who she was as a person. In her 50s she repositioned her brand and went back to work with a new outlook, and a new love in her life. Now that she is in her 60s, she realizes how short time is and wants to make the most of it.

“I’m grateful I never thought of myself as beautiful when I was young. We all fade somewhat as time goes on. Women who rely only on their beauty can feel invisible later in life. It’s sad, for I feel in the latter part of your life you should feel fulfilled, not defeated. Youth is wonderful; it’s exciting because it is the beginning of life. But it is essential to learn from the past and look into the future without resentment.”

She goes on to talk about a skiing accident coinciding with public appearances and photoshoots made her accept that her face was changing. Being diagnosed with cancer at 47 also made her face up to her mortality and weigh up what was really important in life.

“Confronting my cancer was challenging, but enriching. I became more compassionate about the suffering of others, appreciated the value of health, became more spiritual and understood both my fragility and my strength.”

“What I have learned is that when you are sick, much of healing is in the hands of doctors and science, but part of it is finding and using your own power.”

Diane-von-Furstenberg

In somewhat of a philosophical statement, she explains why she has never desired to alter her face surgically.

“I know that people look at me and wonder why I have not succumbed to the progress of technology. Why have I not frozen or filled in the lines of my forehead. Why have I not clipped the bits of surplus skin on my eyelids. I am not sure, but probably because I am afraid of freezing time, of not recognizing myself in the mirror, the image I have been so friendly with.”

“My image is who I am, and even if I don’t always love it, I am intrigued by it, and I find the changes interesting. Even staring at the small wrinkles that curl around my lips can be interesting. They just appear, one day at a time.”

“In my older face, I see my life. Every wrinkle, every smile line, every age spot. There is a saying that with age, you look outside what you are inside. If you are someone who never smiles your face gets saggy. If you’re a person who smiles a lot, you will have more smile lines. Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I’ve taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?”

“I cannot pretend that I am younger than I am, and truly I feel that I have lived so fully that I should be twice my age.”

Her words are beautiful, poetic yet a stark reminder that no matter what your path is in life, insecurities and body image issues plague us all. We are not immune to bad things, but how we deal with them determines who we are inside. Oh how we wish age wasn’t such a crucial factor in so many aspects of life. It is just a number after all.

But like Diane Von Furstenberg so aptly puts it, we cannot pretend, and furthermore, we shouldn’t feel the need to change who we are.

Diane_Von_Furstenberg

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: 'Advanced Style' Documentary Shows Fashion Isn't Limited By Age

  2. Pingback: NBC Universal Exec Bonnie Hammer Puts The Smackdown On Hollywood's Treatment Of Older Women

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.