Diffa Designers Go Wild With Wildlife in Hamptons

Zebras, giraffes, leopards, and other creatures were present in one form or another at Diffa's Dining by Design event in the Hamptons.

August 10, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT

Photo: Patrick McMullan

Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS’ Dining by Design benefitEast Hampton StudiosSaturday, 07.23.05, 7 PM to 12 AM
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After skipping a year in the Hamptons last summer, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS' (Diffa) Dining by Design, sponsored by Elle Decor and General Electric, reappeared in full form, bringing in celebrities, fashion types, boldface interior design and decor experts, and designer tables, of course, for the nonprofit's Hamptons edition of its signature tabletop showcase event. Diffa's David Sheppard and Steven Williams planned the event, held at East Hampton Studios in Wainscott, New York.

A wildlife theme dominated some of the nearly two dozen designer tables presented at the event. Interior designer Doug Hall paid homage to Banana Republic’s expedition-wear roots—and a new collection debuting in the fall—with a safari table that featured an authentic zebra skin draped over it and pewter-colored chargers. Gauze fabric draped over a large bamboo frame surrounded the table.

Tiffany & Company vice president of creative services and visual merchandising Robert Rufino took inspiration from late Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland for his red-washed table, decked with a large leopard print-covered D and V. Each dinner plate also featured a signature Tiffany blue box tied with a red satin ribbon, containing red jelly beans wrapped in leopard print tissue paper. Dransfield & Ross topped its sleek table with towering, sleek white statues of giraffes, and MacKenzie-Childs' table was surrounded by chairs with fish-shaped backs.

Trading Spaces' Laura Day was challenged to create a space that used products from Home Depot. She managed to infuse the retailer's practical wares with some extravagance, using Hermès china and goblets at each table setting. Marco Pasanella’s area featured two real lifeguards—not just models dressed up—who sat atop towers, watching over the dinner guests.

Creative Edge Parties passed truffled crème fraîche, lobster rolls, and parma prosciutto rolls during the cocktail reception. Dinner was a fresh tomato and buffala mozzarella appetizer, followed by a main course of Asian marinated filet of beef. A buffet-style dessert included mixed berry cobblers, peach and blueberry crumbles, crème brûlée, and chocolate truffle cake accented with cappuccino whipped cream.

Jim Shi

Photos: Patrick McMullan

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