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What Do Lena Dunham, Jenna Lyons, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Have In Common?

Photo credit: Glamour.com
Photo credit: Glamour.com

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Anna Wintour praises a photographer who doesn't listen to her? Diane Von Furstenberg almost cries? Lena Dunham takes off her shoes in public? Last night's Glamour Women of the Year Awards was an evening of moving moments and surprises. Okay, Lena removing clothing is never surprising, but much of the rest of the show was.

Every year Glamour Magazine fetes women who've made a difference in the world at their Women of the Year Awards. Last night's well-dressed audience arrived at Carnegie Hall excited to see the show's famous award recipients: Lena, photographer Annie Leibovitz, actress/singer Selena Gomez, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and the USA's 2012 female Olympic Gold Medalists. But the winners whom the audience were most moved by were the show's non-famous recipients. Yes, it was the everyday women who dedicate their lives to doing good—including relief and rescue workers from Hurricane Sandy—and Erin Merryn, an activist working to educate children about sexual abuse, who got the crowd in the balconies on their feet.

But the most moving award of the night, and the one which almost brought DVF to tears, was given to Pakistani documentarian, Sharmee Obaid-Chinoy. Obaid-Chinoy's Oscar winning film Saving Face, tells the story of how 1,200 women each year have acid thrown in their faces, and yet their perpetrators go unpunished. The documentarian spoke of crimes against women in her country and brought out one of the film's stars to speak. Despite the fact that the star doesn't know English, her scarred yet proud presence carried a powerful impact.

Although many of this year's award recipients were dressed in sparkly gowns, J. Crew Creative Director and award recipient Jenna Lyons appeared onstage in a simple white tuxedo shirt, white bow tie, and black slacks. We were surprised to see just how tall the designer was—so tall in fact, that we feared we weren't going to be able to hear what she was saying from her non-height-adjusted microphone. Thankfully, we managed to learn that Jenna started her career at J.Crew as an assistant to an assistant, who didn't even have a cubicle—she had to work in a hallway. Twenty plus years later, the now extremely successful designer advised the young women in the audience, "Nothing worth having happens over night," and that, "Whatever your passion is, make it your day job."

While the majority of the audience seemed most excited to see award recipients and Olympic Gold Medalists Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, Kayla Harrison, Allyson Felix and Carli Lloyd—who all looked quite glamorous in evening wear—we were thrilled to see their fellow awardee, Supreme Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg take the stage. After a film clip showing what a vital role the Judge has had in blazing a path for women's rights, Bader Ginsburg, attired in an embroidered silk pantsuit, shared a secret about her Supreme Court Justices' attire. It seems that the robes were styled for men, so she had to look for white lace collars and foulards to wear at the neckline and also had pockets sewn into her gowns interiors.

One of our favorite moments of the evening was hearing the normally composed Anna Wintour talking about her often challenging relationship with Annie Leibovitz. Before presenting the famous photographer with her award, Wintour explained that despite detailed planning with Leibovitz before every Vogue shoot, she inevitably ends up receiving "The Call." This is when Annie tells her what is actually going down. Wintour said this leads to, "Me having the impression that everything I have said has fallen on deaf ears."

As for Lena Dunham, the creator and star of Girls gave a funny and self-deprecating speech covering a myriad of topics, including the importance of being a feminist. She then dedicated her award to her mentor, the late writer-director and past Glamour Award winner Nora Ephron, who had received a posthumous tribute earlier in the show.

· Glamour [Official Site]
· Lena Dunham Had To Take Off Her Heels at Glamour's Women of the Year Awards Last Night [Racked]
· 'Jenna's Picks' Are Back at J.Crew [Racked]