DIFFA’s Dining by Design Cocktail by Design

DIFFA table 1

Tracy Reese

Each year, about two dozen designers and students from New York's top design programs volunteer their time to create elaborate table settings for DIFFA’s (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) Dining by Design multi-city tour. Here in New York City, there were five days of events running concurrently with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94 through March 21. The festivities kicked off at the Dining by Design Cocktail by Design event where guests were invited to preview the table settings created by some of the biggest names in fashion, interior design, art, and architecture.

Ralph Lauren

Among those who designed tables for the event were David Rockwell, David Stark, Tracy Reese, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, and fittingly enough given her recent foray into the world of home design, Diane von Furstenberg (here's hoping the Marchesa ladies, who recently expanded into dinnerware, join next year!)

David Rockwell

After the cocktail event wrapped, the public was invited to view the creations and the five days of events wrapped with a gala dinner, honoring editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest Margaret Russell, where guests were able to actually sit and dine on the over-the-top dining environments.

Architectural Digest

This is the third year I’ve been to the show and I’m consistently awed by the level of creativity shown by the designers involved in the charitable project. It’s especially interesting to see how fashion designers translate their individual aesthetics into table settings. My personal favorite was Donna Karan’s sleek, zen dining oasis which came complete with gorgeous orchids.

Donna Karan

Next up for the traveling dinner party is Kansas City (April 30 to May 1) and then Chicago (November 4 to November 6).

Diane von Furstenberg


All photos courtesy of Marion Curtis of StarPix and Sharon Feiereisen.