“I feel very much at home here.”
A gorgeous crowd gathered at the Westin Galleria Monday afternoon for the 2010 Woman-to-Woman Luncheon benefitting Jewish Family Service. The sold-out event drew over 1,000 guests to hear international fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg speak on independence, empowerment and generosity.
Established in Dallas in 1950, Jewish Family Service provides “an open door to those in need”, regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. The organization serves thousands each year through programs for children and adults, senior citizens and families in crisis.
Presented by Neiman Marcus, this year’s installment of the popular fundraising series drew a number of distinguished attendees, including André Leon Talley of Vogue Magazine and Senator Florence Shapiro. Across the sea of tables set with light lunches and white linens, many of the guest of honor’s unmistakable wrap dresses could be glimpsed on women of all ages. As an added touch, even desserts were adorned with DVF-style chocolate candy lips for the occasion.
The designer herself was stunning in a signature graphic-print ensemble. After introductions from Michael Fleisher, Executive Director of Jewish Family Service and Karen Katz, President and CEO of Neiman Marcus, von Furstenberg took the stage to enthusiastic applause.
“I feel very much at home here,” she beamed, explaining that her travels have brought her to Dallas countless times over the years.
Then, as a collection of family photos, early designs and scrapbooked clippings from newspapers and magazines flashed on giant screens, she narrated the story of her life and career.
The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, von Furstenberg grew up in Belgium and had her first job in the fashion industry at an Italian clothing factory in her late teens. From an early age, she emphasized, “I always knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.”
Through successes and challenges, she maintained her drive to be independent, self-sufficient and true to her own identity.
Famed for her iconic wrap dress, a timeless design now displayed at the Smithsonian Institution, von Furstenberg is also an accomplished author and photographer and a mother of two. As gorgeous as she was when she burst onto the scene in the ‘70’s, she is now in the “third act” of her life, as she puts it, focusing on many charitable projects as well.
In the designer’s own words, “To help, give and inspire is a privilege.” It was a message woven throughout the day’s event, one at the heart of Jewish Family Service.
For more information on giving and volunteer opportunities, visit JFSDallas.org.