The cocktail crowd was an intriguing mix of women...some in African dress, some in burkas (fitting, as the event was part of The Daily Beast's weekend long "Women in the World" summit). The swans were like a mini U.N. themselves--DVF devotees including Amanda Brooks (sparkling in Fallon crystal earrings and sequin pants), Iman, Rachel Roy, Anh Duong, Wendi Deng Murdoch (moguls' wives stick together), and Candace Bushnell graced the administrative building.
Tory Burch was stunning in a navy lace Marc Jacobs dress. The designer attended as, "a happy spectator. I went to Tina (Brown)'s summit. It's so amazing, I would go to any length to support it." Burch also discussed her own new eponymous foundation which offers micro-financing to women, "but it's domestic," she offered.
Steven Kolb, DVF's partner at the CFDA, mingled bravely amidst the amazons. "Diane is all about the woman," he said. "In the very beginning, when she was elected President, she said she has all women working for her and very few men. I am proud to be among them. I'm an honorary woman for the night!"
Photographer Gilles Bensimon, a great lover of ladies--carrying three drinks to a table--was in his element, "I am friends with Diane. I do everything she tells me.... almost."
"I always say, 'We don't need men,' but maybe it's because I have the best one, and I take him for granted," said an emotional von Furstenberg as the awards began. "From the bottom of my heart, thank you to my husband, Barry. I am proud to be your wife." It was the first of many moving overtures.
Christiane Amanpour, the first presenter in a star studded line-up, introduced Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, who among other noble efforts, is starting an all women's college in her native Afghanistan. She was the first of four women to be honored with a $50,000 grant from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation for "leadership, strength and courage."
The second honoree was Danielle Saint-Lot from Haiti, who was introduced by Melanne Verveer, the United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues. Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America," introduced Katherine Chon of the American-based Polaris Project, which combats slavery and human trafficking. Her organization provides services and transitional housing to its clients, and operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center hotline.
Meryl Streep was the last presenter and passed the heart-shaped Giacometti-like award to the French-Colombian politician Íngrid Betancourt. Betancourt was freed in July 2008, after being held captive for six and a half years by Colombian rebel group, FARC. Betancourt's namesake foundation promotes freedom, environmental conservation, and combats social injustice.
Following the ceremonies, and many wet eyes, "the grand daughter of Bossa Nova," as DVF called her, Bebel Gilberto performed a set, and the mingling continued. "I feel like cheerleading tonight," said Streep who had summed it up best. "I wish I could break into a Chinese split--that's the painful one."
What do you think of the awards? Good idea? Let us know by leaving a comment and then see what else the enterprising von Furstenberg has been up to lately.