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Hello Magazine(May 2001)
THE YOUNGEST OF THE STUNNING HEIRESS SISTERS
TELLS HELLO! ABOUT LIFE WITHIN HER FORMIDABLE FAMILY
With one sister married to a Getty and another to a Greek prince, Alexandra, the youngest daughter of self-made duty-free billionaire Robert Miller, had a hard act to follow. Her eldest sister Pia's wedding to Christopher, grandson of John Paul Getty, took over an entire hotel on the island of Bali. And when Marie-Chantal tied the knot with Prince Pavlos of Greece, she bought together the biggest gathering of crowned heads since Queen Elizabeth II's wedding.
But the Millers have always had the money and the taste to stage fairytale nuptials for all their daughters. So when Alexandra married her childhood sweetheart Prince Alexandre von Furstenberg in 1995, it was a suitably lavish affair and New York's high-society wedding of the year.
As married women, the three Miller sisters remain as close as ever, and Alexandra enjoys a close relationship too with her mother-in-law Diane von Furstenberg. A relationship which is not merely personal.
Alexandra, 28, and Diane work together at Diane's fashion house. Diane, the socialite turned fashion designer, changed the way women looked at dressing in the 1970s with her revolutionary wrap dress, which quickly gained mass appeal and became a staple in the wardrobe of every fashionable woman who yearned for simple sophistication.
Now, with a new shop in New York, Diane is set to seduce the fashion world once again with a fresh line of designs. Alexandra is her right-hand woman and a considerable asset in bringing smart young customers to the design house.
Career woman she may be, but Alexandra is careful to maintain a balance between work and her private life. As she reveals to HELLO!, she enjoys a happy marriage and is a devoted mother to her 16-month-old daughter Talita.
Looking back on your childhood, what sort of upbringing did you have?
"Our lives were a little unorthodox because we traveled all over the world: Asia, Europe and the US. I got used to moving around. For me it was normal. We never stayed in one place. We never put down roots, so we never had any problems saying goodbye."
Both you and your husband are important figures on the New York scene. It seems that now, more than ever before, young people are at the forefront of setting trends. What role do you play?
"I think it's normal that youth, and the so-called 'beautiful people' have a certain appeal for everyone. Nowadays, New York is the most popular city in the world and everyone wants to know what's going on around here. That's why the press publishes everything you do. It's become an obsession. Of course, my husband and I love going from place to place looking for new experiences. We're both filled with curiosity, but we get on with own lives and do the things we want to do. So we really don't care if we're considered trendsetters. That's a role we haven't asked for, and we don't even go out that often."
Do you find that women from your generation are career-oriented?
"Most, yes. Since everybody else works, you would feel isolated if you didn't. If you don't work you have too much time on your hands."
What's it like to work with your mother-in-law Diane von Furstenberg?
"I have a very special relationship with my mother-in-law. We're very close. I've known her for 13 years, long before I got married. I regard her as a friend, and working with her is a pleasure. She lets me express my opinions, and she respects my ideas. I work as the creative director. I'm in charge of overseeing everything from marketing to design."
Many people have been wearing the Diane von Furstenberg label for years, yet suddenly it seems fresh. What new elements have you introduced?
"Diane set up a new company in 1996, and it has grown spectacularly since then. Samantha Tracy the chief designer, suggested that we introduce a number of changes, and we all studied them together. All the clothes in our collection are extremely sexy, feminine, young, and easy to wear, as well as competitively priced."
How do you balance your career and private life?
"The most important thing is that I have a husband who trusts and understands me totally. We're soulmates."
Tell us about your daughter. How did you choose her name?
"Talita is a biblical name, and it means 'little' in Aramaic."
Yours is a very international family. Are you bringing Talita up to be bilingual?
"My husband and I speak English and French, and we do the same for Talita, switching from one language to the other."
What are your goals and your ambitions?
"To be a wonderful mother, a good wife and to be successful with the Diane von Furstenberg collection. I want to be surrounded by good people. But frankly, for me, being happy is more important than success."
What kind of relationship do you have with your sisters?
"We're extremely close. We call each other three times a day and we see each other every other day. We respect each other's opinions, our children play together and our husbands get on really well."