NEW YORK — At Thursday night’s DVF Awards at the United Nations, Diane von Furstenberg took a moment to wave the flag for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
Reminding guests that the former New York senator presented one of the DVF awards last year, the designer said, “I would like to ask all of you — the ones of you who know her, her passion, her dedication to women, our country, the world and to all the values that we believe in — to please spread the word. We want her as our president.”
With Democratic and Republican candidates stumping in New York in advance of the April 19 primary, Chirlane McCray, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, also talked politics. More specifically, she addressed Ted Cruz’s recent criticism of her husband’s liberalism. ”From what I’ve heard, New Yorkers have spoken to Ted Cruz. Didn’t they tell him to go home? That’s my response, too,” McCray said.
American politics aside, the DVF Awards celebrated five champions of change — Lifetime Leadership Award winner Dr. Martine Rothblatt, International Award winner Agnes Igoye, Inspiration Award winner Sarah Jones, International Award winner Maria Pacheco and People’s Voice award winner Emily Greener. Doing double-duty with von Furstenberg as cohost of the U.N.’s two-day “Women In The World” conference, Tina Brown said, “It’s really hard to believe that all of this positive change-making energy started with a suitcase of figure-hugging wrap dresses in 1970. But when you consider who was lugging that suitcase from store to store, it does make perfect sense.”
The designer welcomed the crowd – which included her daughter Tatiana, her son Alexander — who encouraged her to start the DVF Awards — and her husband Barry Diller – by paying tribute to the “brilliant, groundbreaking” architect Zaha Hadid, who died late last month. “Thankfully, she has left a huge body of work and the most majestic, and amazing buildings,” Von Furstenberg added. “And she was a Syrian girl and believe me it wasn’t easy.”
After a few songs from Justine Skye, presenters like CBS’ Norah O’Donnell and Allison Williams of “Girls” helped to honor this year’s winners. Tony and Obie-winning “Bridge and Tunnel” playwright and performer Jones capped off her acceptance by acting out her thanks as different characters. She is soon off to Berkeley, Calif., to preview her new show “Sell By Date” before its September opening at the Manhattan Theater Club.
After Igoye detailed her anti-human trafficking efforts in Uganda, Pacheco spoke of cofounding Wakami, handmade accessories produced by more than 450 Guatemalan women and exported to 20-plus countries.”This new concept of ethical fashion that is emerging is so powerful because it also makes the lives of people who produce it so beautiful, too,” she said.
Von Furstenberg noted that previous winners like The Empowerment Plan’s founder Veronika Scott, who helped develop a self-heating coat for the homeless, and Jaycee Duggard, who after being released from a lengthy kidnapping started the JAYC foundation to help families dealing with abductions, have created a 35-person strong network. “Right now women’s conditions around the world are not doing good. It’s really important,” von Furstenberg said. “We can’t afford to pooh-pooh anything that deals with women. We’re losing, losing, losing…so we have to help one another.”