Talk about a send-off! On Tuesday morning, designers gathered at Metrograph, the Ludlow Street movie theater and special event space owned by CFDA member Alexander Olch, to celebrate outgoing Chairwoman of the CFDA, Diane von Furstenberg.
The turnout was stellar: Stacey Bendet, Tory Burch, Sander Lak, Prabal Gurung, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Moses, Reem Acra, Italo Zucchelli, Sharon Khazzam, Yeohlee Teng, and Steven Lagos were just some of the designers present.
Pressing topics such as the transformation of New York Fashion Week and looming China tariffs were discussed, but the real focus of the meeting was Diane von Furstenberg and her amazing 13-year run.
“Of course, 13 is notorious as an unlucky number but it actually has been CFDA’s very lucky number,” CFDA President and CEO Steven Kolb said. “I am sure you all would agree with me that Diane has done so much to push CFDA forward. She repeatedly said at these meetings that her goal was to make CFDA a family and she has accomplished that. There is a real sense of community that is unique to American fashion and American designers.”
As for the woman in charge, she recalled how the CFDA helped her during her iconic career – from arriving in America as a young woman with no understanding of the industry to building a successful business, selling it and returning to Europe thinking she was done with fashion.
“Five years later, I came back to America and I had the worst time of my life because I was feeling like I was a has-been,” von Furstenberg recalled. “I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt like I had lost my identity. At that time, the CFDA invited me to join the board. To be invited to join the board meant a lot to me. I soon got my name back and started my company again. I always felt I owe something to the CFDA, so when Stan asked me to succeed him, there was a little vote. But I won. I took it very seriously, with my heart.”
With Kolb, the duo went on a well-documented journey of transformation for the CFDA—growing the membership from 250 to almost 500, taking control of New York Fashion Week, fighting for copyright protection, strengthening the focus on emerging talent, and so much more.
“We did a lot but it was time for me to move on,” von Furstenberg added, “The timing was right for Tom Ford to be my successor. I was very happy because I wanted an upgrade. I wanted someone who was better than me. Tom is international, and he has had an incredible story himself.”
And then it was time to celebrate our legend – with the help of mimosas and a tiered Charlotte Neuville cake in a signature DVF print and topped with a Statue of Liberty wearing a wrap dress and holding a CFDA-inscribed tablet in her left hand.
“You have to turn the knife around,” the Chairwoman – who is also the godmother of the Statue of Liberty – said. “And when I dig in, you all have to scream.”
The whole room cheered. Thank you, Diane!
Click here for more information about the CFDA.