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Diane von Furstenberg: 'There's no sugarcoating'

"Love is life" is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg's motto, and one she spreads through her new E! series, "House of DVF," and her memoir, "The Woman I Wanted To Be," which tells of her rise to success and pays tribute to her Holocaust-surviving mother.

"House of DVF," which airs 10 p.m. Sundays, focuses on young fashionistas vying for a chance to be the label's brand ambassador. Von Furstenberg discussed the book and TV show in a recent interview.

Why did you decide this was a good time to do a reality show?

People always wanted me to do a show. Every idea they brought to me was so tacky and so not right. When I decided I was going to have a brand ambassador, somebody said that should be the show. I guess I'm very maternal. I love the moment of your life when you push the first door. At this point, my mission in life is to empower more women.

And this is different from say, your work on "Project Runway" and "Project Runway All Stars."

Of all the shows, "Project Runway" was the best one, because it really was informative.

Why?

Because of Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn is a real teacher. It wasn't exploitative.

Have you ever taught?

I teach life. If you have success, you should use your voice to help those who have no voice.

You're honest in your book about your business failures.

I practice honesty. That's my religion. The TV show is the same thing. I did not want to meet the girls unless I was on film. I don't know if you can tell, but it's really honest. There's no sugarcoating.

You describe a couple of these contestants as bitches.

Yes, and I don't want them to be bitches. What I don't like about some of those shows is that they don't provide good role models for girls. I don't think you have to be bitchy to succeed.

The show also sheds a positive light on the fashion industry.

What is interesting about television today is that it draws you into a world with authenticity. I think that's good.

Diane von Furstenberg will discuss "The Woman I Wanted To Be" 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, at Books and Books, 9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour. RSVP at BooksAndBooks.com. Call 305-864-4241.

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