Last night I went to an event hosted by the inimitable Diane Von Furstenberg at her downtown studio. She’s teamed up with the new Red Star Line Museum, opening in Antwerp, Belgium (grand opening, spring 2013), to bring a little pizazz to a project the Belgium-born designer is passionate about. The Red Star Shipping Line transported some 2.6 million emigrants to the U.S. between 1873 and 1934, including Albert Einstein, Irving Berlin, and Arthur Murray (a few descendants inconspicuously roamed around DVF’s studio last night). The museum, which can be likened to Ellis Island, will bring the long abandoned buildings back to life with interactive exhibits and installations. (In fact, the architectural firm redesigning the complex is the same that renovated the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.) Yet the night’s focal point, aside from Diane and her exquisitely colorful space (sorry, fashionista talking), was a large poster board of an unidentified young girl sitting at the RSL station. Antwerp Vice-Mayor Philip Heylen announced the launch of a nationwide “do you know this girl?” campaign in an effort to discover her identity and arouse attention from the masses – perhaps one of your ancestors came over on the RSL? The contest winner will receive a trip for two to Antwerp and a $1,000 DVF shopping spree, which the designer added to the pot last night.
To become eligible for the contest, like the Red Star Line facebook page, provide your full name and email, and like the photo of the girl. The Red Star Line Museum blog will regularly post clues and stories (though they have yet to identify her themselves); questions will be posted beginning June 24. Obviously, all guesses will be painstakingly authenticated. And, alas, if the girl can’t be identified, finalists will be asked to write their imaginary version of her story. The most ‘liked’ story will win the trip and spree.