Summersalt and Diane von Furstenberg Launch a Swimwear Collab
Name a more iconic duo. We’ll wait…
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
At just 23 years old, Talita von Furstenberg (TVF) has many accolades and an extremely bright future. As the granddaughter of fashion mogul, Diane von Furstenberg, TVF has launched and creative directed two collections under the TVF for DVF label, was appointed co-chairwoman woman of DVF in October of 2021, and is positioned to eventually take over the family business. We sat down with TVF to chat about her career, DVF’s newest collaboration with Summersalt, and more.
Kristen Maxwell Cooper: You obviously grew up around fashion, and now you’re co-chairman of DVF, but tell me about first falling in love with fashion—was there a pivotal moment you can recall?
Talita von Furstenberg: I always loved playing dress up in my mom’s closet, walking in her high heels; it’s just part of who I am because of my family. But the moment I really thought about it as a career or a roadmap for me was actually at a pretty young age. The most pivotal moment was probably when I was seven years old and DVF had a resort fashion show in Florence. I kept begging her to let me go and she said I could only go if I worked. So I promised her I would work the whole time. I went and was taking polaroids of the models and putting them on the wall, and I remember thinking I was doing such important work. But I think that moment and that experience really was where my love and passion for runway and the beauty of it all really took off. I just have such vivid memories of that week of rehearsals. I was wearing custom DVF wrap dresses—made for a seven year old!
KMC: Tell me a bit about your role as co-chairwoman of DVF.
TVF: It started really around last October. I had been involved with DVF before that offering my fresh perspective from a brand perspective, but since October I’ve been involved in the business side. From sales to analytics to data and it’s been really exciting to learn that side of the business. I have such an amazing, collaborative team so it’s been an amazing experience. And I work closely with Gaby, our CEO, and she’s super open to teaching me everything I need to know.
KMC: I read where you had always made it clear to your grandmother that you wanted to follow in her footsteps. How so?
TVF: You know, it’s so weird because we never really had a specific conversation about it. My whole life I’ve been groomed for this position. We’ve always been talking about business, we’ve always been talking about fashion and talking about the longevity of the brand, the rich DNA history. She’s always been talking about archives. I’ve always been involved in a personal relationship with her, we are extremely close. She’s basically a mother figure to me, in addition to my amazing mother, but we’ve always had a very special connection and this crazy bond where she really feels like she sees herself in me. She’s been able to trust me and give me all these insider tips and tools, and has been essentially raising me into her position, ideally. And I think it was a very organic thing. It wasn’t like, ‘at this age you’re going to do this or this is what’s going to happen.’ It was really organic and we both wanted that. And I think it’s really amazing that DVF is a family owned brand. We’re a private company, so to allow the next person to be a family member is really special. And it’s worked with a lot of fashion brands in the past. I’ve grown up with this brand—I know exactly what our customer wants, who she is, what she wants to be, what our clothes need to be, but also the experience and the ethos of the brand. We always put women first, we’re always giving back to the female community, we’re always instilling confidence in our customer. And I think that’s really important because a lot of brands when they switch leadership positions, don’t necessarily have the full 100% dedication, as of course, I clearly do, since my name is attached to it.
KMC: What’s one of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned from your grandmother about success and running a business?
TVF: There are so many things that she’s taught me. Like the importance of being your best friend, and always trusting yourself. But also that imperfections can be your biggest asset. When you don’t know something, never be afraid to ask questions and to figure it out. Know that you don’t need to know everything. You can always learn more and there’s always opportunity to grow, which has definitely helped me so much. I’m constantly learning every single day, and wanting to learn more things. But I feel like a lot of the times we get scared, especially professionally, to ask when we don’t know something because we feel embarrassed that we don’t know it. So that’s been something that’s really helped me learn and grow.
KMC: What do you think it is about the DVF brand that has made it stand the test of time?
TVF: Well, it’s pretty crazy because the DVF wrap dress has existed for 50 years! We’re coming up to its 50 year anniversary. We’re still making the same style and it’s still selling. And we really haven’t changed it that much. The seventies fabrication is a little bit different than the nineties fabrication. But it just shows you that classic, timeless pieces that are flattering on a woman’s body, and made for all body sizes are so important. And to stick with what works. While we’re constantly changing the prints, making little fabrication alterations, changing the sleeve or the collar, the overall fit isn’t changing. We’re always working on fits and always putting the woman first. We want to be the best friend in a woman’s closet, so when she goes to the closet, and doesn’t know what to wear, she’ll grab what she knows works. She’ll wear the wrap dress again and again and again, and then 20 years later, she’ll give it to her daughter and it will still look good. It’s very exciting to see that, especially when you compare it to other women’s apparel brands. There really isn’t another item that lasts in the test of time like the wrap dress.
KMC: The Summersalt x Diane von Furstenberg collection just launched—what made Summersalt an exciting partner for DVF?
TVF: I think it’s really exciting just to work with a brand that’s so inclusive and always supporting women because we’re trying to do the same thing—helping to support all women, making them feel the most confident, offering clothes that help them feel more beautiful and more special and more happy. And Summersalt is a brand that does the same. There was just so much cohesion between the two brands off the bat.
KMC: What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
TVF: I love The Perfect Wrap One-Piece. We haven’t done some swimwear in a little bit and we’ve never done a wrap swimsuit to play off of our wrap dress and I think it makes so much sense. We’re so famous for the wrap dress and Summersalt is so famous for the bathing suit that to make the connection is so cute and fun. And I think customers will love that as well.
KMC: What’s something that you hope to bring to the DVF brand?
TVF: I want to bring my fresh perspective, which I think definitely has a lot to do with technology. We are working on building our In Charge community, which is a multimedia platform that engages our customers. It’s a community that wants to support each other professionally, and also just as allies and friends and supporters too. We’ve done a lot of special events in our New York store, and we’re trying to build more of a digital platform through social media—LinkedIn is what we’re really focusing on right now.
I think a younger perspective that knows the benefits of technology and isn’t scared to use it is something really important, especially for a seasoned brand. For example, using the technological data when it comes to Shopify to really improve our clothing based on data and designing with data. It maybe doesn’t sound as glamorous but that’s just the reality of the future. We have so much information that we can use, and we can be really thoughtful when we’re designing. It can help with things like overconsumption and sales so we can avoid being wasteful or selling out of a certain item. Designing with a real purpose is something that I feel really passionate about from the sustainability perspective, but also from a business perspective.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Probably Capri, Italy. There’s just somthing magic with this island—it’s just so special. Everywhere you go, it’s beautiful. There’s so much history and vibrancy.
What’s a book that’s stuck with you?
Every book that I’m reading, I fall in love with. I’m not sure that one book necessarily stuck with me, but I like reading from the female perspective and reading about women at different ages, in different parts in their life, overcoming different struggles. It helps build empathy and understanding about what other people are doing.
What’s the last show you binge watched?
WeCrashed, about the founder of WeWork. It was so good and I watched it in real time. I couldn’t wait to watch it live every week. I watched The Dropout at the same, which is about Elizabeth Holmes. It was interesting to watch both of those shows together because the events occurred at the same time in San Francisco Tech, and then they both collapsed.
What’s your must-have skincare product?
Cetaphil wash. That’s it. There’s nothing better than that. I just have to use it every single day. You can spend $100 on a face wash or $200 on a face wash, but nothing is as secure and stable as that one. And I wear sunscreen every single day, and reapply multiple times a day.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Oh, I’m actually the biggest foodie ever. When I wake up, the first thing I do is I think about what I’m going to eat for the day. I really love Mexican food, I think a really good Mexican meal always hits the spot.
What’s your fashion uniform?
Right now I’m wearing just linen pants and a white T-shirt and neutral sandals. Neutral are what I always gravitate towards. But that being said, whenever I do wear colors and prints like, I feel so much more confident. It’s kind of like I’m putting on this armor of confidence.