No one does International Women’s Day quite like Diane von Furstenberg. The legendary designer and certified fashion icon celebrates the achievements and empowerment of women around the world, works with countless female-centered nonprofits through her brand, and frequently hosts events at her colorful Meatpacking District flagship to showcase inspiring women while bringing people together.
Just last week, she presented a panel of Women In Charge alongside the likes of Dee Poku and Esther Perel.
But beyond that, she leads her own community of International Women on the daily at her company HQ. A Belgian-turned-New Yorker herself, the designer’s team features a noteworthy melting pot of cool-girl expats that now call NYC (and DVF) home. Consider it the fashion world’s version of the United Nations.
We caught up with two international stars of the DVF office who share what it’s like working with the icon, their unique experiences in NYC, and, of course, their favorite hot spots to hit when they clock out.
Where are you from originally?
Ariane de Vos: Half Belgian. Half Dutch. I grew up in the the city of Brussels, which I left when I was 17 to study both in the Netherlands and in Italy (Rome and Milan)
Asli Tunaman: I was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. Then moved to NY, when I was 18, right after high school to study here and haven’t left this beautiful city full of surprises since then.
How did you first land at DVF?
ADV: Interesting enough, I was working at Area Studio as a fabric developer, when I decided to send a letter to DVF to connect. Belgian to Belgian. That same week, coincidentally, I was invited to the very first post-pandemic store activation at the DVF HQ. There I ran into Julien Kermorvant, one of DVF’s designers and Gabby Hirata, the current CEO of DVF. I explained to her my letter and career path and we hit it off instantly. She invited me for a meeting and we decided that we should work together. It has been quite the adventure since.
AT: My journey at DVF started as a graphic design intern straight after college. I found the position through Pratt Institute’s career service where I graduated from. I had two different internships back then. Half of the week I was at DVF and the other half I was interning at Milk Makeup which was only a block away from the DVF HQ in Meatpacking.
How has working at DVF given you a unique experience living in NYC?
ADV: Quite frankly, from the day I met the team to this day, it has been an incredible experience. Both culturally and work professionally, we get to meet legends and activate fantastic things.
The position I currently hold, gives me the opportunity to create inspiring and special moments for the DVF community. Both through the design, development and go-to market strategies of campaigns or through the creation of InCharge Activations such as Wellness Day, International Woman’s Day or Let’s talk about love events.
AT: It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve been working at DVF, and I can say that I’ve experienced various creative encounters throughout the time that I’ve been here. One of the biggest reasons that DVF gave me a unique living experience in NYC is the diversity of people that I got a chance to work with, that I’m still in touch till this day. Some are friends, some are creatives that I got to work on other projects with. Other than that, of course, it’s working for one of the most legendary brands since the ’70s with the legend herself. How can it not be a unique experience?
Diane is the ultimate New Yorker but also an international icon. Do you find that global-mindedness is reflected in the company culture and brand overall?
ADV: Abso-freaking-lutely. Diane thinks about the woman first, wherever she might be from.
We work very closely with our teams all around the world (China, Belgium, London, Paris) to deliver a brand strategy that fits our collective ethos and understanding (not clear)of the DVF woman. Furthermore, our team in NYC is multi-cultural. Our CEO is from mainland China, Asli, our senior graphic designer is from Turkey, our copy writer is from South Africa, etc.
But quite frankly, for me, being able to work for a Belgian Icon, whom I have looked up to my entire life (Yes, I have been a DVF woman my whole life), and share with her the common pride of our country is something very special. Especially now that I get to help open the exhibit about her commissioned by the City of Brussels in April is a mind-blowing experience.
AT: Totally! As being a foreigner myself living in the US, I always felt lucky to work for a brand like DVF because of the mix of cultures. Even thought the brand itself has originated in the US, having a European founder like Diane, you definitely feel the blend of cultures within the company culture and the way it translates in the overall brand identity.
What are some ways the brand encourages a culture of empowerment, especially among women?
ADV: In literally everything we do! From the design inspiration to the delivery of any project. May it be RTW design or marketing strategy, or event planning. Our latest International Woman’s Day, was one of these moments where you think, wow, I am so lucky to get to be in that environment. Being able to put together moments in time, with powerhouses such as Nadia Murad, Kelly Clements, Mira Murati, Bozoma St. John, that inspire women and advocate for them in our current climate, is very empowering in itself.
AT: This is one the major reasons why I feel so privileged to work for a brand like DVF.
DVF is so much more than just selling clothes. It’s a brand that puts women before fashion. Provides philanthropic support to women-led nonprofit organizations in human rights, education, environment, arts, health, and so much more.
On top of the major events such as DVF Awards and IWD where we celebrate extraordinary women and create awareness on important topics, we also create content and share the stories of women who inspire us on a monthly basis with our DVF Woman editorial pieces. Every month we pick a woman (can be from anywhere in the world), do a photo shoot in their space, office, studios or their favorite spots, tell their stories and give them exposure on all our platforms.
What are some exciting projects you’re working on right now?
ADV: Well! We have just wrapped up our International Woman’s Day and launched very exciting collaborations with Castaner and Skechers. Now is the time to look ahead at the upcoming exhibit in Brussels. We have been working on it since September. and I’ve been lucky to work with the very talented curator, Nicolas Lor, and the rest of the team in Brussels to put together a memorable year for the brand in Belgium. It’s a full circle moment, with also the 50 year anniversary of the wrap dress coming up. A very exciting moment to work at DVF!
AT: We just got back from San Juan, Puerto Rico where we shot our new summer campaign. It was so much fun! I was art directing our secondary set which is our lookbook shoot. Our set was in a historic building in the middle of Old San Juan. The most fun/challenging part for me was that my whole team, from photographer to models to hair/makeup artist, were native Puerto Ricans which I think definitely translated in the imagery in the best way. Now I have a month of post production, of our lookbook plus editing the campaign videos from our main set.
What are your favorite spots near DVF HQ to hit after the office?
ADV: Well, overall I’m a dive bar girl (reminds me of Belgian bars) but if I hit the MP district, it will be in spots such as Entwine or a bit further a place called Wilfie & Nell. On a special day, when I’m truly in the mood, you can find me at Le Bain.
AT: I’m a BK girl so don’t really spend much time around the neighborhood after work. But one of the most memorable places for me for the past years was called Wild Son. It closed down after Covid. It used to be our favorite spot, two blocks down from the office. For all kinds of occasions we used to go there. Promotions, birthdays, engagements, happy hours, last days in the company. So many memories in that place.
[Photos courtesy DVF]