ARTICLE KRISTIN TICE STUDEMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY LINCOLN PILCHER
FRIENDS, PHILANTHROPISTS, INNOVATORS
The ongoing joke between Mayor Bloomberg and Diane von Furstenberg is that fashion is not his forte. (“I am a fashion designer’s nightmare,” he joked at a press conference in 2010. “He is not a fashionista by any means. He is properly dressed,” she has told The New York Times.) But don’t be mistaken, the man values the industry. Since taking office in January 2002, he’s been a groundbreaking force in Manhattan’s fashion scene. And in 2006, when von Furstenberg became president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the two of them teamed up to bring fashion (and politics) to a wider audience.
Their friendship is powerful, indeed. It was Bloomberg who stepped in to help keep the fashion shows at Bryant Park when the designers were being booted out and then advocated for Lincoln Center to be the new home of NYFW. Alongside DVF, he’s also been an integral part of the CFDA’s crackdown on designer knockoffs. (For his hard work, he scooped up a CFDA award from the council’s board of directors back in 2008.) Their partnership continued with launching Fashion’s Night Out (alongside Anna Wintour), promoting manufacturing in NYC, and introducing a slew of initiatives to encourage growth and development in the industry, the latest of which was rolled out in February of last year.
In return, DVF has lent her support to a number of Bloomberg’s causes. And where DVF goes, the fashion set follows. Perhaps most notably there was the Diller-von Furstenberg Foundation’s $20 million donation to the High Line in 2011—the largest sum ever donated to a New York City park. (Two previous donations from the Foundation to the park reportedly totaled $15 million.) It’s no coincidence, then, that the High Line has become the home to fashion gatherings, including a number of Calvin Klein fêtes, Tommy Hilfiger’s Spring 2012 menswear show, and Coach’s summer party last May. On a less celebratory note, DVF and the CFDA (in partnership with Vogue) mobilized fashion’s hurricane relief efforts last November in the aftermath of Sandy, raising $1.7 million to benefit the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and other organizations in the tristate area.
DVF’s reign as CFDA president doesn’t end until at least 2014, but Bloomberg’s time in City Hall is coming to a close. We’re guessing he won’t be taking a runway bow when it comes to the fashion realm, though—you can bet this power duo will continue to make moves. And Mayor Bloomberg, for his part, will likely still be doing it in one of the same Paul Stuart suits and Brooks Brothers ties he’s been wearing since day one.
Photo assistant Stephanie Kessell Special thanks Souri Kim, Grace Cha, Jordan Stein