It was the longest day of the year, and Diane von Furstenberg wasn’t going to miss a second. Carrying a small, black digital camera in one hand, she was equipped to document every bit of the 2017 Summer Solstice, which she chose to celebrate by inviting about 220 of her friends and family to Liberty Island for a sunset picnic.
After a brief ferry ride, guests immediately dispersed. DVF’s husband Barry Diller was among the first dozen or so who took advantage of the after-hours access to Lady Liberty’s crown, a feat that involved climbing several hundred stairs. On the way in to the statue, he tried to sneak a drink through the security x-ray machine. After being found out, he joked with the guard, “Just drink it.”
Von Furstenberg serves on the board of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and has been leading fund-raising efforts to raise $100 million to build the new Statue of Liberty Museum and enhance the rest of the island. The picnic was less of a fund-raising effort (there was no auction) and more of an opportunity for von Furstenberg to show her friends and family why the cause is important to her (and should perhaps be important to them, too).
Though it was open to a select few media outlets, the designer had requested she be the only one to do interviews that night. Yet she ultimately avoided most questions, in her classically sweet, gracious — but firm — way.
When asked what the Statue of Liberty means to her, she responded, “I’m going to be saying that tonight so you could write it down. I just wrote it down.” When asked to expound on why she had dubbed herself the “godmother of Lady Liberty,” she replied, “That’s what you’ll see. He will announce that, too.
“Anyway, just enjoy,” she continued. “It’s a wonderful place. I have my family and my friends. There are no tourists. It’s a beautiful night, it’s the longest day of the year and we celebrate this incredible woman, this statue who represents womanhood and freedom and courage. That’s what it is.”
The shortest interview ever behind her, she went on to enjoy what was left of the longest day of the year.