Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Egon von Furstenberg
He was born Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni, Prince zu Fürstenberg at Lausanne in Switzerland, the son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg (1903-1989) and his first wife, Clara Agnelli (b. 1920), a sister of Fiat's Giovanni Agnelli. Raised in great privilege in Venice, Italy, he was baptized by the future Pope John XXIII and was a direct descendant of both Josephine de Beauharnais and the 18th-century English collector, writer, and eccentric William Thomas Beckford.
Fürstenberg began his career as a buyer for Macy's, and took night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology. He began designing clothes for plus-size women, and later expanding to full fashion and ready-to-wear lines.
On July 16, 1969 at Montfort l'Amaury, Yvelines, France, he married the Belgium-born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin, daughter of a Holocaust survivor. She was Jewish, and the senior Fürstenbergs objected to the couple's union on that basis. They had two children, Alexandre Egon (b. January 25, 1970) and Tatiana Desirée (b. February 16, 1971), and were divorced. At Egon's urging, his wife launched her own fashion house (as Diane von Fürstenberg ) and created the iconic wrap dress. Diane later married media mogul Barry Diller in 2001. In 1983 Egon married Lynn Marshall (ca. 1950-), a Mississippi-born American. However, despite his marriages, he freely admitted that he was bisexual.
Prince Egon von Fürstenberg died at Spallanzani Hospital in Rome. According to the New York Post, Fürstenberg's widow stated that he died of liver cancer caused by a hepatitis C infection picked up in the 1970s; other sources suggest that AIDS was the underlying cause.
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