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PHOTOS: Diane von Furstenberg Honored With 2022 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award

Opperman Foundation Chairman and award creator, Julie Opperman, 2022 honoree Diane von Furstenberg, and award Chairman David Rubenstein.
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Fashion industry icon, author, and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg was honored with the 2022 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award on Friday evening during an exclusive ceremony and gala held at the Library of Congress.

Sylvester Stallone and Diane von Furstenberg.
Guests enjoyed dinner on the upper level of the Library of Congress overlooking the US Capitol.

The award was established by Justice Ginsburg with Julie Opperman, Chairman of the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation, prior to the beloved jurist’s passing. It is designed to “acknowledge and celebrate exceptional women who have devoted themselves to the betterment of society, regardless of background, place and purpose.”

James Rothschild and Nicky Hilton Rothschild.
Passers-by were treated to a colorful display of the Library of Congress from outside.

“[Ginsburg] wanted her name to live on and wanted her legacy not to wane and so she wanted to celebrate extraordinary women from all walks of life,” said Opperman. “And she wanted them celebrated and honored and held in high esteem.”

Barry Diller and David Rubenstein.
Adrienne Arsht and J’Nai Bridges.
Angela McGlowan, Bret Baier, and Amy Baier.

A who’s who of the District’s philanthropic, arts, business, and diplomatic communities turned out for Friday’s by-invitation-only soiree. However, it was the out-of-town guests who flew in to cheer on von Furstenberg and honor RBG’s memory that perhaps made the biggest splash.

Sylvester Stallone hung a ceremonial pair of pink boxing gloves over a portrait of RBG, from “champ to champ.”
Grant Sholem and Sophia Stallone.

Academy Award-nominated actor Sylvester Stallone helped kick-off the ceremony by hanging a pink pair of boxing gloves over a portrait of Ginsburg with the “Rocky” theme song playing in the background—a sweet moment from “champ to champ”—while Nicky Hilton-Rothschild and her husband, James Rothschild (who sits on the award’s nominating committee), were among the many guests who skipped the cocktail hour in favor of exploring the Library of Congress’ renowned Main Reading Room.

Nicky Hilton Rothschild playfully takes a picture of Diane von Furstenberg, as she takes a photo of the Library of Congress’ famed reading room.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, and Wendi Murdoch.

Ginsburg’s last public appearance was when she received the Lifetime Leadership award at the 11th annual DVF Awards in February 2020. It was therefore especially poignant when von Furstenberg was announced as the third recipient of the Opperman Foundation honor (last year’s award went to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II).

Sharon Rockefeller and Brendan Sullivan Jr.
Opera performer J’Nai Bridges performed at Friday’s award ceremony, She was the last opera singer that Ginsburg saw at the Kennedy Center.

While the mood at Friday’s black tie gala was decidedly celebratory, Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Several guests, including business leader and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, integrated the colors of the Ukrainian flag into their eveningwear and both Rubenstein and US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged the ongoing conflict during their remarks.

Ari Katz, Martha Stewart, and George Vradenburg.
Ambassador Capricia Marshall and Robin Givhan.

The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation, the nonprofit behind this weekend’s award, takes its name from a well-known figure in the American judiciary and legal community. Dwight Opperman was a pioneer of the modern legal information system and as the powerful chairman of the West Publishing Company—creators of WestLaw (used by tens of thousands of attorneys each day)—he commanded the highest respect among his peers in the American judiciary.

Sylvester Stallone, Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang, and Barry Diller.
The Library of Congress’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible was one of the collection artifacts on display for guests.

Julie Opperman and Ginsburg first met during a Washington legal dinner, when they were the only two women in attendance (Ginsburg moved Julie’s seat next to hers), and they quickly became fast friends. The most prestigious award in the legal community today, the Devitt Award, was founded in 1982 also by the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation.  And as a ardent advocate of the award, Ginsburg chaired it twice and was in attendance almost every year she sat on the Supreme Court bench.

Diane von Furstenberg addresses guests during the award ceremony.
Sylvester Stallone, Ghada Irani, Jennifer Flavin Stallone, Julie Opperman, and Howard Lorber.
Lynda Carter Altman, Dr. David Reines, and Nina Totenberg.
Timothy Lowery and Carol Melton.
Diane von Furstenberg’s placesetting at the dinner gala.
Many of the Library of Congress’ sculptures wore decorative masks crafted from DVF fabrics with the lace collars RBG was known for.
Alyse Nelson and British Robinson.
Dr. Eric Motley and Hannah Motley.
Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Norah O’Donnell, and Olivia Rinaldi.
André Pienaar and Teresa Carlson.
Nicky Hilton Rothschild (wearing DVF) with Diane von Furstenberg.
Petty Officer First Class Cory Parker of the US Navy Band performed the National Anthem at the start of the award ceremony.
A cake baked by Fluffy Thoughts Cake was brought out to celebrate Williams & Connolly senior partner Brendan Sullivan’s birthday.
Barbara Harrison and Tommy McFly.