Egon von Fürstenberg

Egon von Fürstenberg
Prince of Fürstenberg

Egon (left) with younger brother Sebastian and sister Ira in 1955
Born Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg
(1946-06-29)29 June 1946
Died 11 June 2004(2004-06-11) (aged 57)
Spouse Diane Simone Michelle Halfin
Lynn Marshall
Issue Alexander von Furstenberg
Tatiana von Fürstenberg
House House of Fürstenberg
Father Prince Tassilo of Fürstenberg
Mother Clara Agnelli
Religion Roman Catholicism

Prince Egon von Fürstenberg (Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg, Prinz Egon zu Fürstenberg, 29 June 1946 – 11 June 2004) was a socialite, banker, fashion and interior designer, and member of the German aristocratic family (princely house, Fürstenhaus Fürstenberg).

In 1969 he married fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, with whom he had two children, Prinz Alexandre Egon (b. 25 January 1970) and Prinzessin Tatiana Desirée (b. 16 February 1971). They couple divorced in 1972. In 1983, he married Lynn Marshall (born ca. 1950), an American and a Mississippi native who was co-owner of flower shop; the couple remained childless.[1] Between his marriages Egon also had a male partner: he was frank about his bisexuality and the openness of his first marriage.[2]

Fürstenberg went on to author two books on fashion and interior design (The Power Look, 1978, and The Power Look at Home: Decorating for Men, 1980), and to open an interior design firm. He died in Rome on 11 June 2004 of liver cancer deriving from an earlier hepatitis C infection, and was survived by his children and both wives.


Eduard Egon Peter Paul Giovanni Prinz zu Fürstenberg, born 29 June 1946 in Lausanne, Switzerland, was the elder son of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg (1903–1989) and his first wife, Clara Agnelli (born 1920), elder sister of Fiat's chairman, Gianni Agnelli.[3] After Clara's departure his father married Texas oil heiress Dr. Cecilie Amelia Hudson, née Blaffer.[4]

Fürstenberg's younger brother is Prince Sebastian zu Fürstenberg, and his sister is socialite and actress Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg.

The House of Fürstenberg is an ancient German family which reigned over a small principality within the Holy Roman Empire until mediatized in 1806, henceforth retaining their official princely status until the fall of the German Empire in 1918, and thereafter maintaining aristocratic eminence through continued ownership of vast estates. Although zu rather than von is the predicate attached to the family's princely title (denoting that the family retained possession of, not merely past or nominal association with the Fürstenberg family seat), Egon and his sister chose to use the more familiar von for career purposes.



Egon von Fürstenberg was born at Lausanne, Switzerland,[5] was baptized by Pope John XXIII, and was thereafter brought up in great privilege in Venice, Italy.[2] He earned a degree in economics at the University of Geneva, followed by an 18-month term in the Peace Corps in Burundi working as a teacher, and then two years as an investment banker in New York.[2]

It was while studying at university that he met fellow student[2] Diane Simone Michelle Halfin,[5] a Belgian-born Jewish woman of Romanian-Greek descent and daughter of a Holocaust survivor (on her mother's side). They married on 16 July 1969 at Montfort-l'Amaury, Yvelines, France. The new Princess Diane von Fürstenberg was pregnant, and Egon's father, who also objected to him marrying a Jew, boycotted the ceremony.[6]

His wife opened her own fashion house in New York, at Egon's urging, creating a novel, eventually iconic wrap dress, a career as designer that pre-dated and arguably eclipsed Egon's. Fürstenberg began his career as a buyer for Macy's, taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology,[7] and Parson's School of Design.

The von Fürstenberg's had two children, Prinz Alexandre Egon (b. 25 January 1970) and Prinzessin Tatiana Desirée (b. 16 February 1971).[5] They were divorced[5] in 1972.

Furstenberg began independent work as a fashion designer in 1977, designing clothes for plus-size women, and later expanding to full fashion and product licensing, with ready-to-wear, fragrance, and made to measure lines based in Rome. Next von Furstenberg designed ready-made clothing for the masses, and an off-the-peg (ready-to-wear) line of fashion.

Fürstenberg wrote two top selling books: The Power Look (1978), a guide to fashion and good taste, and The Power Look at Home: Decorating for Men (1980), a book on home furnishings (see below). He opened an interior design firm in 1981.[7] In 1991 he exhibited at Alta Moda days in Rome.

Fürstenberg collected art, and his collection included works by Zachary Selig.[8]

Egon von Fürstenberg died at Spallanzani Hospital in Rome on 11 June 2004.[5]New York Post, reported Fürstenberg's widow stating that he died of liver cancer caused by a hepatitis C infection that he acquired in the 1970s.

Published works

Fürstenberg's published works included:


  1. Rourke, Mary (2004-06-12). "Egon von Furstenberg, 57; Gave Up Banking Career for Fashion Design". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Wohlfert-Wihlborg, Lee The Original Von Furstenberg, Egon, Wakes Up to His Own Potential, People, December 21, 1981 Vol. 16 No. 25;,,20081006,00.html
  3. "Clara Agnelli". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  4. "Cecil Blaffer "Titi" von Fürstenberg, a patron of the arts and a member of a family that combined two great Texas oil fortunes". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Egon von Furstenberg, 'Prince Of High Fashion,' Dies at 57", The New York Times, New York City, 12 June 2004
  6. "This Day in Jewish HIstory //1946: An ex-serene highness and fashion guru is born - This Day in Jewish History". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  7. 1 2 Wohlfert-Wihlborg, Lee (21 December 1981), "The Original Von Furstenberg, Egon, Wakes Up to His Own Potential", People, 16 (25), retrieved 17 July 2015
  8. Joan A. Quinn, 1989, "Click: Zachary Selig honors Prince Egon von Furstenberg." The Herald Examiner, 26 January 1989.

Further reading

External links

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