Diane von Furstenberg Show Salutes Her Funny Valentino As 9/11 Looms in Background

124733318 Diane von Furstenberg Show Salutes Her Funny Valentino As 9/11 Looms in Background

Valentino and Diane embrace.

On the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Diane von Furstenberg debuted a collection at Fashion Week that she dubbed, perhaps appropriately, Beginnings. “Dawn has broken,” the program reads. “She is brand new.”

The loaded title, and flowery text that accompanied it, made no direct reference to the tragedy, and for most of the show the audience members declined to bring it up. They were talking about Valentino, perhaps the show’s marquee attendee, the designer who just the night before displayed his much-rumored karaoke chops at a party for Barney’s and former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld.

“People are talking more about that than they are about fashion!”  Giancarlo Giametti, Valentino’s longtime partner, said of the Italian’s performance of “My Way” at Westway, the former strip club that hosted the party. “Can we get back to reality?”

We obeyed, and returned to the reality unfolding beside us: Tina Brown carefully taking her seat next to Fran Leibowitz.

“In my life, it’s my millionth show,” Ms. Leibowitz said. “I can’t remember what year it was, but Yves Saint Laurent in Paris, in the seventies when he was still alive, that was exciting. We’re not going to get that here, because he’s Yves Saint Laurant, and he’s dead.”

Fran, always optimistic! Everyone scurried to their seats, and after the lights dimmed, darkened and burst bright anew the first dresses came out in sparkling limeade, and saffron yellow, and pristine, creamy white. The sunny hues continued through the show’s 40-plus looks.

And then Ms. von Furstenberg emerged after the finale carrying a handful of American flags. As she walked the runway to rapturous applause, the designer handed  flags to Valentino, to Tina Brown, to Carine Roitfeld — Italy, England and France. The gesture was small, but, given the date, perhaps it was the closest thing to getting back to reality at Lincoln Center all day.