NEW YORK — “Without a lot of fuss, we get things done,” Diane von Furstenberg said Tuesday at the luncheon to kick off the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s new global initiative for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, its partnership with Net-a-porter.com and the exclusive shirt for it designed by Ralph Lauren.
The president of the CFDA couldn’t have chosen her words more wisely. The invitation called for noon, and an hour later, most guests had mingled, heard remarks by von Furstenberg and Net-a-porter founder Natalie Massenet, lunched on the buffet offering and even enjoyed dessert. By then, von Furstenberg, who was scheduled to catch a flight to Europe in the afternoon, was keen to move things along quickly.
“Grab a friend and grab a seat,” she said and everyone followed her command.
Oscar de la Renta took his seat next to Behnaz Sarafpour, Gilles Mendel broke bread with Rachel Roy, and von Furstenberg lunched with Lauren, Massenet and Tommy Hilfiger.
“Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined this lunch,” said Massenet, scanning the fashion-heavy crowd that also included Reed Krakoff, John Varvatos, Nicole Miller, Stan Herman, Yeohlee Teng, Marchesa’s Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman, Dana Buchman, Richard Lambertson, John Truex and Robert Lee Morris.
“I am very proud to participate,” said Lauren. “I am glad I was asked and hope it sells very well.”
Massenet said she hoped to raise more than $1 million with the Lauren shirt alone, which is only the first of several exclusive items in the 12-month partnership.
“Net-a-porter speaks to over one million women a month,” she said. “I hope that by the end of the year we will have raised more than we ever could have dreamed of.”
Massenet was wearing a black-and-white print DVF dress.
“It’s DVF from the next season,” the London-based executive said. “I brought along every DVF dress I own, but then I saw this one here yesterday and had to wear it.”
CFDA executive director Steven Kolb decided to put on a tie dotted with FTBC’s iconic bull’s-eye motif for the occasion.
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“I think it’s a prototype,” he said. “I found it in my office.”
Over the course of the 12-month partnership, Net-a-porter will launch limited edition designer pieces exclusive for the program.
“Any of you can do it,” von Furstenberg told the crowd. “Don’t worry, Steven will call you and hassle you. I open the doors, but he’s the one who closes the deal.”
Catherine Malandrino said she was ready for it.
“We have worked with Net-a-porter for five years and exclusivity is another type of our collaboration,” Malandrino said.
Hilfiger was also taken with the idea. “I’d definitely like to do something, but I don’t know whether it should be men’s or women’s,” he said.
After the luncheon, von Furstenberg gave Lauren a personal tour of her impressive new digs in the Meatpacking District. “It’s fun,” said Lauren.
As for his CFDA moment earlier this month, Lauren was still excited about his American Fashion Legend and Menswear Designer of the Year awards he picked up. “It was quite a night,” he said, before smiling and joking, “Legend, I always love that. I could change my last name to it.”