"Can't you go a little faster?" Diane von Furstenberg asks as she and her daughter, Tatiana, drive through Coldwater Canyon, a posh residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills. "There are speed bumps, Mom," Tatiana replies. The demo CD for Tatiana's new band, Playdate, is filling the Subaru station wagon. She's singing about velvet ropes.
"You're a better singer than you are a driver," Diane mutters.
"You're so impatient," Tatiana mutters back.
Who else but an impatient woman would marry at 23, have two children by 25, and design the wrap dress, a packable fashion staple that would put her on the cover of Newsweek at 29?But if Diane von Furstenberg is impatient, she's also inquisitive, open to anything, and appreciative of all kinds of beauty. Which makes her an ideal traveler. So when she leaves the East Coast (and her houses in Manhattan's West Village and Litchfield, Connecticut) to stay at the Beverly Hills compound of her Hollywood-mogul husband, Barry Diller, and visit her daughter, who moved from downtown New York to Los Angeles a few years ago, she enjoys poking around.
In Franklin Canyon, a rocky nature preserve just below Mulholland Drive with a reservoir once used for the fishing scenes in The Andy Griffith Show, mother, daughter, and daughter's big black mutt hike past a lake ringed by fir trees, then through an oak grove and onto a steep trail speckled with wildflowers. Since Diane has just gotten into town, she's far too excited to treat nature with reverential quiet, so there's nothing but chatter in French, Italian, and German, a kind of international aural bouquet that hints of jet-set living at its most posh and peripatetic. When Tatiana spots a snake on the trail, more attention to nature is suddenly paid—and in English. "Grab the dog," she yells, "or he'll die!"
Maybe it's all the yoga she practices. Maybe it's from having braved exotic places like Borneo, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan, or maybe it's from being a retail veteran who knows how to manage a mini-crisis. For whatever reason, Diane remains calm. "Go away, little thing," she says as she charges ahead in Prada river sandals.
L.A., with its heady mix of ethnic and spiritual communities spanning all parts of the metropolis and all socioeconomic levels, has a lot for the curious traveler to explore. And between these two von Furstenberg women, a lot of ground gets covered. Since 1996, Tatiana, 32, has lived with her two-year-old daughter and actor-musician husband in Silver Lake, a funky enclave just north of downtown. Her mother, meanwhile, has been coming to luxuriate in seductively styled Beverly Hills since the early 1970's, when she took her first husband, Egon von Furstenberg, to a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel for his 24th birthday. Though comfortable with opulence, she's also restless, so she often finds herself jumping into Diller's Lexus convertible to shop Beverly Hills and West Hollywood with a hawklike focus.