Tag Archives: charity

Harrods unveils first ever Luxury charity pop-up: Fashion Re-told

Harrods’ recent initiative alongside NSPCC, Fashion Re-Told, aims to reduce wastes and speak to its Millennial target consumers in ways that are important to them.

The pop-up boutique, Fashion Re-told, was officially launched on the 12 April and opened to public the next day, Friday. Located on Sloane Street in London on premises are donated by Cadogan Estates, the pop up is nested amongst luxury labels such as Tom Ford, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. 

Running on for one month, it will be will be the luxury department store’s first standalone charity store as well as one of the most upscale charity shops in our century.

Customers can peruse and shop a selection of designer and high-end pieces, which have been donated by Harrods customers, employees as well as luxury brands themselves.

Notable labels are Paul Smith, Mulberry and Peter Pilotto, with pieces from womenswear, menswear, kidswear, to accessories. In the same spirit as Harrods’ usual highbrow edit, the charity store aims to offer a changing, eclectic selection, including signature brand items such as the popular Loewe elephant coin purse.

Natalie Dormer (L) and Mo Jamil (R) attend the launch of the Fashion Re-Told at 196 Sloane Street on April 12

The interior of the boutique is a dreamy candy-floss pink, a corporate colour of NSPCC. Alex Greco Wells, head of visual merchandising at Harrods, explains the colour theme as a “lighthearted approach to make people smile”. “We just want to create something fun, a visual interpretation of an appropriate aesthetic for the collaboration, without the ostentatious and overpowering feel of a luxury store,” Wells added.

Besides purchasing, customers are also encouraged to bring in donation pieces from their own collections. In fact, one of the highlights in the initiative is an Alaïa dress donated by Helen David herself, the chief merchant of Harrods.

Staff members involves both Harrods and NSPCC volunteers. Michael Ward, Harrods’ MD, states that the initiative can recur if it’s a success.

Prices range from £100 to £200. All proceeds will go to NSPCC, on a mission to end child abuse in the U.K. and Channel Islands.

Timepieces and accessories for a good cause with the Montblanc for UNICEF collection

Watchmaking and brand-building are both about continuity, which is what makes partnerships such as the Montblanc-UNICEF initiative so special. Over the last 13 years, the Montblanc for UNICEF collection has helped raise more than US$10 million to benefit education programmes around the world. Montblanc, a brand built on the idea that writing — and consequently reading — is a “precious gift”, is the perfect partner for UNICEF in its mission to help children in need everywhere. Obviously, UNICEF’s mission is a tough one, given that some 59 million school-age children are not in school. Even where children receive some form of schooling, some 130 million will not achieve a basic standard of literacy and numeracy. Montblanc’s journey with UNICEF began in 2004 with the Sign Up for the Right to Write initiative, a campaign that used the exactly the right words — if you are lucky enough to read those words the reason should be clear.

In 2017, Montblanc has set the bar high for its Montblanc for UNICEF campaign, aiming to raise more than US$1 million. In service of this goal is the aforementioned Montblanc for UNICEF collection, consisting of limited edition writing instruments, timepieces, accessories and leather goods. Each item from the Writing Is a Gift Collection sold between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, raises the amounts Montblanc will be contributing to towards helping more children gain access to improved standards of primary education.

“There is still much to be done to ensure that every child around the world has proper access to an education, a cause Montblanc has been proud to champion for the past 13 years,” explains Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc CEO. “This new initiative gives individuals who are as passionate as we are about the written word the ability to own a Montblanc piece that carries true purpose, and by doing so, making a valuable contribution to the work of UNICEF in communities around the world where children are not always given the opportunity to learn to read and write. Writing is indeed a special gift that every child should enjoy.”

More than pretty words, Montblanc has released some specifics of how it intends to use the money it raises. In China, for example, it will be supporting child-friendly schools and the rights equal education. In Brazil, Montblanc’s contributions will help UNICEF achieve its goal of getting children aged four to 17 access to basic education; UNICEF is also helping teachers and school managers here to stymie the dropout rates of the most disadvantaged boys and girls. The mission continues in other places, of course.

Jeff Koons Offers Sculpture Paris Terror Attack Victims

Jeff Koons Sculpture for Paris Terror Attack Victims

American artist Jeff Koons announced he would give Paris a “Bouquet of Tulips” sculpture as an offering of remembrance for the victims of the November 2015 jihadist attacks, city hall said.

The monumental work, which has yet to be built, will be 10 meters (34 feet) high, and be made of bronze, stainless steel and aluminum.

The sculpture will represent a huge hand holding out a multicolored bouquet of tulips, the contemporary artist said at the US embassy in Paris, a statement said.

Once it is completed in 2017, it will be set up in front of the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Palais de Tokyo building.

The sculpture will cost some three million euros ($3.2 million) to make. Financing will come from private donors in the United States and France.

Koons said the sculpture was designed as an offering in memory of the victims and as a symbol of optimism, in an effort to help Paris overcome the tragedy that struck the French capital on November 13 last year.

In a string of coordinated attacks by Islamic State group jihadists that shocked the world, 130 people were killed that day.

Koons, who is known for toying with objects from popular culture, said the hand holding the tulips in his massive sculpture is intended to mimic the State of Liberty grasping its torch.

Paris is home to a several smaller replicas of the Statue of Liberty, including one on the Seine River, within sight of the Eiffel Tower.

“The fact that this great artist has decided to offer to the city of Paris… a monumental artwork is a symbol of generosity and sharing, and shows our capital’s ties with the United States are unbreakable,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

Special Needs Children Get Artsy with UOB

Thirty lanterns painted by students from the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Chaoyang School lit up the United Overseas Bank (UOB) Art Gallery in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The lantern-painting session was held as part of UOB’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival workshop.

During the session, 30 young artists and volunteers from UOB were taught acrylic painting techniques by 1992 UOB Painting of the Year winner Soh Chee Hui. The participants then applied their newly acquired skill onto traditional fabric lanterns.


“The Mid-Autumn Festival is an occasion where we spend time bonding with people who are dear to us,” says Soh. “This year’s festival is especially heart-warming for me as I wanted to help inspire and fire up the artistic passions of these children. I hope that this will lead them to pursue developing their creative talents and exploring different art forms.”

The students also brightened up the financial district when they proudly displayed their colourful lanterns during a walk along the Singapore River to commemorate the festival. Jetno Tsai, a volunteer from UOB Personal Financial Services, commented, “I was touched by the glowing smiles on the children’s faces as they held up their lanterns to the public. I could see their confidence grow with the cheers and encouragement from passers-by. They were also thrilled about having their artwork exhibited at the UOB Art Gallery for their friends and families to admire their lanterns.”

photo-2_apsn-students-walk-along-the-singapore-river-to-commemorate-theThe exhibition by APSN Chaoyang School students was showing last week at the UOB Art Gallery. It ran alongside ‘Joy²’, an exhibition by professional artist and 2015 UOB Painting of the Year winner Aaron Gan. The ‘Joy²’ art exhibition is a continuation of ‘Joy’, Gan’s first solo exhibition at the UOB Art Gallery, featuring birds in his signature watercolor painting style that serve as a reminder to stay rooted and be grateful to the people who have helped him, and will run till 4 November 2016.

UOB’s Mid-Autumn Festival lantern painting workshop is part of the UOB Heartbeat Volunteer programme to give back to the community in the areas of art, education and children. Since January 2016, the bank has organized 10 art education workshops for more than 120 children from underprivileged backgrounds or who have special needs. It aims to enable these children to express themselves more fully through art and also to expose the medium to those who may not have an opportunity to experience it.

*For more information, please visit www.uobpoy.com

This article was first published in Art Republik.

Vintage Biplanes in Epic Africa Conservation Rally

Vintage Biplanes in Epic Africa Conservation Rally

A dozen biplanes from the 1920s and 1930s will fly 8,000 miles from Crete to Cape Town next month in a vintage aviation rally that harks back to the early days of air travel.

The pilots will fly along the Nile from Cairo to Khartoum, past the highlands of Ethiopia, down through East Africa past Mount Kilimanjaro, over Victoria Falls, and will end in South Africa.

“The aircraft are going to be flying hot, high, and they’re going to be struggling… So are the pilots,” said “Vintage Air Rally” (VAR) organizer Sam Rutherford under blue skies at Brighton City Airport.

“There’s no autopilot, there are no automatic systems, it’s all hand flying, with very little protection from the elements – sun, wind, dust, the oil being sprayed out of the engine up front whilst it’s still turning. It’s all full on.”

The group makes up the largest number of vintage biplanes to attempt this journey across Africa.

Teams from a dozen countries including Britain, Canada, France, Germany, South Africa and the United States are to take off from the Greek island of Crete on November 12, touching down in Cape Town on December 17 after 35 days and a journey of some 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers).

It is the first aviation rally to be granted permission to land at Egypt’s Giza pyramids in 50 years, and will put on Sudan’s first air show, Rutherford said.

The worst thing that could happen – and most likely serious problem – is engine failure, he added.

“They’re all single engine aircraft, there isn’t a spare one on another wing. But on the positive side, the aircraft fly relatively slowly, and indeed they force land very, very slowly.

“So it only needs a small patch of land, a little bit of road, even a football pitch, to safely get the aircraft on the ground.”

With his green bomber jacket, windswept hair, and sun-crinkled eyes, Pedro Langdon looks as if he has stepped out of the 1920s himself.

The Canadian-American will be flying his 1928 Travel Air 4000 during the rally, a commercially built plane originally used to carry passengers in the front seat, with a 220 horse power, seven cylinder engine.

“For me it’s a whole other world up there, a way to become more present in the moment, it’s an exhilarating experience,” he said after a test flight above the white cliffs of southern England.

As well as being an adventure, the rally is working with the charity BirdLife International to raise awareness about the plight of the African vulture, with seven out of 11 species currently on the edge of extinction.

Each pilot is matching themselves to an endangered vulture, and each landing en route will highlight the issue.

Zuckerberg Fund Pledges $3 billion to Banish Disease

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife on Wednesday pledged $3 billion over the next decade to help banish or manage all disease, pouring some of the Facebook founder’s fortune into innovative research.

“This is a big goal,” Zuckerberg said at a San Francisco event announcing the effort of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative established by the couple. “But we spent the last few years speaking with experts who think it is possible, so we dug in.”

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, had their daughter Max late last year. Shortly after, they pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook holdings or some $45 billion to “advance human potential and promote equality.”

At Wednesday’s event, Zuckerberg said their goal is to cure all disease, or at least turn catastrophic illnesses from terminal to manageable or preventable within their daughter’s lifetime.

While the funding effort is for the next decade, Zuckerberg and his wife said they hope to achieve their objective of by the end of this century.

Chan, fighting back tears at times, said that curing all disease within Max’s lifetime will not mean children won’t ever get sick, but it would happen less often and be less severe.

New tools for researchers

The first investment being made as part of what the Zuckerbergs hoped would become a “collective” effort will be $600 million for the creation of a Biohub in San Francisco where researchers, scientists and others will work to build tools to better study and understand diseases.

“Throughout the history of science, most breakthroughs have been preceded by the invention of some new technology that lets you see things in new ways,” Zuckerberg said, mentioning the microscope and DNA sequencing as examples. “Tools also create breakthroughs in how we treat diseases.”

The Biohub will bring together engineers and scientists from three prestigious California universities to help the effort.

“We plan to invest billions of dollars over decades,” Zuckerberg said. “But, it will take years for these tools to be built and longer to put them into full use. This is hard and we need to be patient, but it’s important.”

Renowned neuroscientist Cori Bargmann of Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute was brought on to lead the project.

Zuckerberg took an engineering approach to the challenge, reasoning that there were a handful of big health culprits including cancer and neurological disease so it was “pretty easy” to imagine what types of tools are needed.

He spoke of the potential to put artificial intelligence to work imaging brains or having machine learning tackling analysis of genomes.

Zuckerberg and Chan also hoped that their project would power a movement to fund more medical research around the world.

Taking part in the event on Wednesday was Microsoft billionaire turned global philanthropist Bill Gates, who has made improving health around the world a top goal at the foundation he created with his wife.

Gates praised Zuckerberg and Chan for taking on a “very bold, very ambitious” challenge. “I have no doubt they will make progress,” Gates said. “Mark and Priscilla, they are inspiring a whole new generation of philanthropists who will do amazing things.”

Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician, stood by her husband as she assured the gathering, which included prominent medical researchers and local politicians, that her “heart is full of hope” and that all involved were eager to get started.

cacao changes lives

Cacao Changes Lives: Food ‘Nobel Prize’ Winner

In Venezuela, a country on the brink of collapse from a crippling food shortage, a quiet but swiftly growing group of female entrepreneurs has poured their hopes for the future into a chocolate-covered, fruit bonbon. The woman credited with setting this powerful movement in motion was honored at gala event in San Sebastian last week, attended by some of the most influential chefs in the world.

It is a big dream packed into a small bite-sized confectionery.

But for chef and chocolatier Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, the inaugural recipient of the Basque Culinary World Prize, the notion of solving the food crisis with a luxury food item makes sense given Venezuela’s long history of cacao production.

Last week, Di Giacobbe accepted the award pitched as the Nobel Prize of the food world, for having empowered 8,500 of her fellow countrywomen in a poetic story that marries two Venezuelan culinary traditions and has taken on a life of its own.

The award, launched this year, recognizes chefs who’ve improved society through food. Di Giacobbe was announced as the winner in July.

When Di Giacobbe opened her chocolate shop Kakao in Caracas in 2004, the idea was to pair local Criollo cacao beans – among the most prized in the world – with childhood favorites candied fruits and jellies.

Di Giacobbe trained 30 women to start, during a time when Hugo Chavez was in power. Unbeknownst to her, the chocolates would come to represent more than just a unique Venezuelan confectionery. For one woman, it would allow her to stop being dependent on Chavez’s unemployment stipend and become an independent chocolate entrepreneur.

cacao changes lives

Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe of Venezuela, winner of the Basque World Culinary Prize

Invigorated by their new skills, the women would fan out to other communities of their own accord, teaching other women about what they’d learned.

The domino effect would eventually spur Di Giacobbe to open Cacao de Origen, a training space that teaches women how to transform cocoa beans into chocolate.

“It’s not all my work,” Di Giacobbe said in an interview. “When you feel you can change, that you can create a better future, women work with generosity and happiness. This is very beautiful.”

Meanwhile, in light of the deepening food crisis, Di Giacobbe sees a bigger role for cacao in Venezuela.

“Cacao is inside the people of Venezuela. All of our stories, culture, religion are around cacao,” she said.

For centuries, Venezuela was among the biggest cacao producers in the world and became one of the first countries to export the commodity around 300 years ago, she explains.

Then the country shifted to an oil-based economy, and cocoa production shrunk to small-scale, family affairs.

But where it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Venezuela is known for its Criollo cocoa bean, prized among the world’s top chocolatiers for its complex flavors and aromas.

Di Giacobbe believes that resurrecting Venezuela’s cacao production and shifting the economic focus away from oil can help restore pride in a long-lost heritage and place the country on a new, brighter path.

“Cacao is a product that is a vehicle for change.”

Di Giacobbe plans to use the €100,000 award to expand Cacao de Origen and teach students not only about the principles of bean to bar, but how to start their own businesses.

Italy Chefs Support Amatrice Quake Victims

Italy Chefs Stand with Amatrice Quake Victims

More than 700 Italian restaurants have added spaghetti all’amatriciana to their menus in solidarity with the victims of an earthquake that destroyed the birthplace of the famous pasta dish.

Chefs around the world are being urged to follow suit after the Slow Food movement threw its weight behind the idea, with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver also backing the idea and urging customers to #EatForItaly.

Amatrice was one of several mountain villages devastated by Wednesday’s powerful quake and it will be some time before the hilltop beauty spot is once again serving up its signature dish to the gastronomic pilgrims who flock there in their thousands every summer.

In the meantime, amatriciana, one of the staples of the cuisine of Rome and much of central Italy, is going to be much more widely available thanks to Paolo Campana, a graphic artist from the Italian capital.

Under an initiative he launched on Facebook, restaurants are being encouraged to put amatriciana on their menus and to donate two euros from every dish sold to the relief fund for the quake victims.

The idea has taken off spectacularly with over 700 restaurants contacting him by Thursday lunchtime to say they wanted to participate, he told AFP.

“I’m very attached to Amatrice,” he said. “On New Year’s eve last year I had dinner in the Hotel Roma which makes the best amatriciana in the village. Today there is nothing of it left.”

The hotel Campana was referring to collapsed in Wednesday’s quake, just days before it was due to be at the center of an annual festival dedicated to a sauce first created by shepherds in the rugged mountains that surround the village.

“At the start it was just a rough idea I put up on Facebook. But it has taken off and I’ve made a little poster that restaurants can put up in their windows to show they are participating in the initiative.

British chef joins in

“I’ve got requests from all over Italy, from Puglia to Tuscany, and also from abroad. I have been asked to translate the sign into several languages to export the scheme. Even restaurateurs who have never cooked amatriciana before are going to have a go.”

Carlo Petrini, president of the Slow Food movement, urged restaurants around the world to put the dish on their menus for at least a year.

“We hope in this way to keep the public’s attention for longer — we have to look beyond the immediate emergency and start working from today to rebuild,” he said.

In a posting on his official Facebook page, Britain’s Oliver said he and the 700 chefs working for him would be cooking up the dish for the rest of the month.

“It will be on the specials board tonight at Jamie’s Italian, and for the rest of the month £2 (2.35 euros/$2.65) from each dish will go straight to the International (Committee of the) Red Cross,” he wrote. “I think we can easily make thousands and thousands of pounds to help.”

An authentic amatriciana

Amatriciana is one of those dishes that Italians love to argue about. Although it is always essentially a combination of pork cheek (guanciale), onions, tomatoes and pecorino cheese spiced with a bit of chili, recipes vary significantly, particularly as the dish has been exported around the world.

Some people use sweet-cured pancetta (pork belly) instead of guanciale, others, including the celebrated River Cafe restaurant in London, throw in a bit of rosemary.

Spaghetti is the most frequently used pasta but in Rome, where the restaurant trade is full of natives of the Amatrice region, they favor bucatini, a slightly thicker noodle with a hole in the middle.

There is also debate over whether to use red or white wine to deglaze the pan after frying the cured pork and onions to the (also much discussed) correct degree of caramelized crispness.

Against this backdrop of culinary confusion, the local council in Amatrice issued a decree a few years ago spelling out exactly how to make an authentic amatriciana.

Spaghetti gets the nod as the pasta of choice, no more than a splash of white wine is allowed and if you use anything other than fatty guanciale you must give your sauce another name.

“Only with guanciale will the dish be incomparably delicate and sweet,” the council warns on its website. San Marzano tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, are de rigeur.

A tiny piece of fiery dried chili is all that is required for a subtle heat and the grated pecorino must only be added at the end, to the cooked spaghetti just before the sauce.

Luxuo AFP Italian chef Massimo Bottura © AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA

Top Chefs Cook for Rio Olympics Soup Kitchen

The world’s best chefs – really the top names in the business – are pitching in to make the Rio Olympics more enjoyable for people who need the Olympic spirit most. Alain Ducasse, Joan Roca and Massimo Bottura, among others, will be turning leftover scraps from the Olympic Village into nutritious meals for the homeless in Rio.

The challenge marks a big departure from the kinds of ingredients and conditions the chefs – many of whom hold Michelin stars – are used to. Instead of truffles and caviar, they’ll be tasked with turning surplus foods, gone uneaten by athletes, into 5,000 meals for the homeless in the Lapa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.

Organized by Italian chef Massimo Bottura, whose Modena restaurant Osteria Francescana topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking this year, the soup kitchen RefettoRio is modeled after Bottura’s community kitchen first launched at Expo Milano last year.

At Refettorio Ambrosiano, 65 of Bottura’s famous chef friends answered his call to help turn food waste from the Expo Milan pavilions into edible meals for the homeless out of an abandoned theater.

Through the five months of the expo, chefs such as Mario Batali, Ducasse, Gaston Acurio and René Redzepi used their kitchen wizardry to transform 15 tons of food scraps like potato peels and stale bread into 10,000 meals.

The Rio outpost is mounted in partnership with Brazilian non-profit organization Gastromotiva and Bottura’s non-profit group Food for Soul.

All 5,000 meals served during the Games will feature three courses, beginning with an antipasto or pasta, main course and dessert. RefettoRio will likewise live on beyond the Olympic Games, with food sourced from various suppliers including surplus, unsold produce from local grocery stores.

RefettoRio launched August 9.

4 Exotic Cars at Daytona: Charity Drive

Ever wanted to race around a world famous track, have an evening with Hollywood celebs and A-listers, and do a car show all for children’s charity? I had the privilege to attend such an event. Celebration Exotic Car Festival in Florida, gives individuals with exotic cars the opportunity to spend two days on Daytona International Speedway driving the infamous 24-hour circuit. Afterwards we headed to an amazing 5-star wine and dinner cooked by Wolfgang Puck himself.

Of course, to close the fun few days, there was a car show that Make a Wish Foundation had some Wish Kids attend. I’m sure you are all want to know more about the details of the cars well, we had cars such as Pagani Huayra, Bugatti, McLaren P1, Vipers, Ferraris of your calling, along with some race cars.

Porsche GT4

Porsche GT4

During the event I had the chance to drive the new McLaren 570s which I won’t go into much as I did a story on the McLaren P1 last month but what a fast, fun, and light little car. I also had the opportunity to drive the brand new Viper ACR Xtreme. This car is pretty much a race car that is street legal. It can produce roughly 800kg of downforce and 650bhp. This thing is quick!

All American muscle with a lot of downforce, the car is a blast and brings me back to what it’s like to be in a real GT race car. The car has set production car track records everywhere it goes. The interior is full of carbon fiber and alcantara and has a great short shift manual 6 speed transmission. I also had the opportunity to take out one of the latest cars out there, the Porsche GT4. This was a fun and tactile machine.

Definitely a great car for the track, but in my opinion, a little underpowered. I think this is probably because of its bigger brother that always has the stage – the Porsche GT3 RS. Give this car 100 more bhp and I think you would have one of the fastest cars on the track. The feedback from the steering was amazing and the balance was on point.

Dodge Viper ACR Xtreme

Dodge Viper ACR Xtreme

I didn’t get the chance to drive the Pagani Huayra, but that car is a work of art as you can see from the photos. I wouldn’t consider it a track car, but more an investment and a beautiful piece of art. Everything about it was beautiful and over the top.

Each year the event has grown tremendously and helped raised over $1 million for children’s charities. Stars from Orange County Choppers, Happy Days, Star Wars cast members have attended, with next year’s special guest to include Mr. Jay Leno. If you ever are in the Central Florida area in early April, be sure to make this an event you attend, as it’s not only for an amazing cause, but also one you will never forget.

McLaren 570S

McLaren 570S


This article was first published in Palace magazine.

Hollywood Stars Donate Jeans for Refugees

Denim gets a new lease of life for a good cause, thanks to some of Hollywood’s finest such as Sharon Stone, Benicio Del Toro and Emma Watson. The charity drive, “Jeans for Refugees”, sees the stars hand over their trousers to American artist Johny Dar, to work his magic before auctioning off the creations.

Showing that the stars truly shine, some bids for jeans, such as those of Stone, have gone up to nearly 5,000 euros within hours of being listed on online auction site Catawiki. The colorful makeover of singer Pink’s jeans, had reached 3,000 euros as of Tuesday.

Those looking to collect memorabilia of the famous personalities need not lose hope as others such as Mick Jagger, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Audrey Tautou have also donated their jeans. Proceeds from the sale will go towards the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC was founded in 1933, at the request of physicist Albert Einstein, with the aim of helping people escape the Nazi regime in Germany.

Paris Couture Week: Chopard High Jewelry Shines

Ralph & Russo, together with Chopard, are known to host some of the most elaborate and luxurious dinner parties, which usually involve the rich and famous. Their latest event earlier this month was no exception. Held on 4 July at the Georges in Paris, the prestigious dinner saw esteemed celebrities the likes of actors Sophie Marceau and Sonam Kapoor, alongside Victoria’s Secret model Jourdan Dunn wearing Chopard’s stunning creations.

Sonam Kapoor;Caroline Scheufele;Jourdan Dunn

(Left to right) Sonam Kapoor, Caroline Scheufele, Jourdan Dunn

Chopard’s precious jewels also made an appearance at The Art of Giving Love Ball at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris to raise funds for the Naked Heart Foundation, an initiative by supermodel Natalia Vodianova to raise funds for children with special needs. Graced by the powerful, such as Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LVMH, the supermodel brandished her own power look, with a pair of dazzling drop earrings.

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 06: Natalia Vodianova attends the "The Art of Giving" Love Ball Naked Heart foundation : Photo Call as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 6, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – JULY 06: Natalia Vodianova attends the “The Art of Giving” Love Ball Naked Heart foundation : Photo Call as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 6, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)

Save The Children: #Raiseyourhand with Bulgari

“We raise our hand to signal our presence, our interest, our attention, our participation. To signal that we do not hide, that we have no fear, that we believe we have an answer,” said photographer Fabrizio Ferri of his latest philanthropic initiative for Bulgari and Save The Children, entitled RAISE YOUR HAND.

The celebrated lensman photographed celebrities such as Shu Qi and Naomi Watts and digital influencers the likes of Chiara Ferragni for the campaign, each with a raised arm to show solidarity. The photographs from the charity campaign, which was revealed in Rome just earlier this month, will be accompanied by a video starring some of your favorite celebrities.

Already in its seventh year, watchmaker and jeweler Bulgari has been extremely dedicated to the cause. The Italian jeweler had launched an exclusive bracelet for the Save the Children foundation’s collection, and even sent its ambassadors to visit marginalised children in rural Vietnam, bringing laughter and joy to the little ones who often face discrimination.

Read more about this meaningful campaign over at L’Officiel.com.

Venezuelan Chef Wins Basque Culinary World Prize

In the world of gastronomy, there are those who cook good food and there are those such as Mariá Fernanda Di Giacobbe, who cook food and improve society while doing so. The Venezuelan chef is the inaugural winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize.

A panel of internationally renowned chefs selected De Giacobbe, from a shortlist of 20 finalists. Thanks to her social projects such as “Kakao” and “Cacao de Origen” she stood out against 110 other chefs from over 30 countries. As Chair of the Prize Jury, Joan Roca explained that De Giacobbe’s work as “an inspiring project that exemplifies the great reach of gastronomy.”

With her winnings of €100,000 that can be presented to a project or institution of her choice, the award demonstrates how society can benefit from gastronomy. When asked about her win, the chef said “From now our work will take on a new dimension. We will bring the transforming power of trade to many more women ‘chocolate entrepreneurs’. “

She added that “This award is a reflection of hundreds of entrepreneurs, producers and chocolatiers and their learning, enthusiasm and hard work. It allows us to set new goals and open up new ways to connect with the world. We in Venezuela are tremendously grateful that the Basque Culinary Prize has placed this trust in us.” The award was the brainchild of the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), an internationally recognized academic institution in gastronomy as well as the Basque Government.

IWC Funds School For Underprivileged Thai Youth

It always feels good to give back to the community and those less fortunate. The wonderful folks at IWC Schaffhausen must feel the same. This year, the brand has chosen to work alongside Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation, as they usually do. The collaboration will bring the underprivileged youth of the country’s Karen population the necessary professional training.

With the opening of the Hospitality & Catering Training Centre in Mae Sot, the luxury Swiss watchmaker and the foundation are hoping to bring the future of the country’s minority population out of the poverty cycle. Bringing the youth into the hospitality sector not only aims to provide job opportunities but can also be seen as a way to inject manpower in the industry.IWC-CSR-Thailand-students-2016

The facility was made possible thanks to the sale of the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Edition “Le Petit Prince” in red gold that was auctioned back in November 2015. Sold for $48,752 the auction was held in Geneva by the renowned auction house Sotheby’s. This is not the first time that the watchmakers have sold a timepiece to aid in a good cause. Back in 2013, IWC auctioned off a unique Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Le Petit Prince” in platinum for $177,563. The sale of that timepiece, went towards financing two school buildings with a library in Ruluos, Cambodia.

Bulgari Partners Elton John Aids Foundation

The acclaimed Italian jewelry and watchmaking firm just won’t stop doing good! Bulgari’s efforts with Save The Children has been making international waves for years, and rather than stopping in their tracks, the brand inaugurates a partnership with the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF).

Obviously, a little fanfare was involved. In celebration of the new partnership, an exclusive 100-person black-tie dinner was held, hosted by Sir Elton John and David Furnish. The grand location of choice was Sir Elton John’s very own Windsor estate, home to one of the UK’s finest private contemporary art collections.

And of course, what is a Bulgari event without some beautiful extravagance? The iconic Bulgari Diva’s Dream high jewelry necklace made an appearance, and was presented by international model and digital influencer Xenia Tchoumi. The resplendent one-of-a-kind creation features one round brilliant-cut diamond (0.51-ct) and 20 round brilliant-cut diamonds and pave diamonds (17.23-ct). Beauty is augmented by goodwill; following a live auction, the necklace raised £225,000 for the EJAF charity, which will directly benefit the work of EJAF in direct care patients services, AIDS prevention and education. This is but part of the whopping £3.3 million raised during the evening. Good on you, everyone.

The night was brought to new heights with a special performance by Andrea Bocelli and Sir Elton John himself. In a show of support, US Secretary of State John Kerry also contributed via a video message, underlining his commitment.

“For Bulgari, bettering the world and doing our part is built into our company culture. It is an honor to be partnered with EJAF, a very effective charity, and we look forward to being part of the solution to fighting AIDS,” stated John-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari. The Italian label will support EJAF’s philanthropi efforts and events over the next three years, and we hope its altruism will never end.

Sotheby’s Auctions Remaining Pierre Berge Library

As one half of the duo who founded Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge is regarded as a fashion mogul. On November 8 and 9, the French philanthropist will be putting up the other half of his famous library for auction at Sotheby’s in Paris.

The other half of the collection raised $12.8 million (which we covered originally here) so it would be no surprise if this collection fetches just as much. While the full auction catalogue is only made available in September, the current list of items included would make any literature fiend happy. The 380-work collection is expected to include the finest works of 19th century European literature, including the Marquis de Sade’s last novella as well as Gustave Flaubert’s account of his tour through France’s Loire and Brittany regions in 1886.

Made up of mainly English, German and Russian language classics, the collection also includes rare edition works from poets such as Byron, Shelley, Wilde, Tolstoy and Goethe. The proceeds of the auction will go towards the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent that Berge and his former lover Saint Laurent set up to support AIDS research.

Bulgari and Famous Friends Save the Children

To gain awareness and raise funds for the marginalized children of Vietnam, four celebrities and Bulgari take the path less traveled to the outskirt province of Dien Bien. The four in question – who also happen to be brand ambassadors – are Singapore actress Jeanette Aw, Malaysian actress-producer Debbie Goh, Thai DJ-entrepreneur Hattaya Wongkrachang and Miss Universe Vietnam 2015 Pham Huong.

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At Dien Bien, the ambassadors mingled and enjoyed fun activities with the children, who usually face discrimination because of their ethnic minority backgrounds and decentralized locations. Statistically, these children don’t perform as well as their peers in school – they have lower test results and higher dropout rates in school.

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“I have always loved to reach out to children. On this visit to Dien Bien, I spent time with primary school children helping them to learn how to fold origami butterflies. It was an amazing moment when they folded their own butterfly and were thrilled with the result. Their smiles were priceless. They give me much more than what I give them. Save the Children, with the support of Bulgari, has shown how important it is to aid children and give them the love and support that they deserve,” said Aw.

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Together with Save the Children, Bulgari has launched a special edition sterling silver and black ceramic bracelet that will be available in stores. Over the years, the initiative has raised an impressive Euros 37 million ($42 million) for Save the Children, benefiting 1 million beneficiaries in 29 countries – most of them war-torn, disaster-ridden or suffering from poverty. A substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale of the custom-made jewelry will be donated to the foundation and go a long way to helping these children enjoy a brighter future.

Read more about Bulgari’s Save the Children initiative at L’Officiel.com.

‘Mad Men’ Props for Charity Auction

You can now own a little piece of your favorite American TV show, Mad Men, and all for a good cause. To raise funds for cancer charity City of Hope, the cult AMC TV series will organize an auction of more than 1,500 of Mad Men’s props through eBay, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from Lionsgate, the studio that made the series. Property master Ellen Freund personally curated the prized items, some of which returned from “Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men” exhibition at The Museum of the Moving Image in New York last year.

No prizes for guessing whose items will fetch the most money, though. Protagonist Don Draper’s wallet, orange visitor chairs, engagement ring to Betty and even his iconic 1964 Chrysler Imperial convertible will go under the hammer. Last year, his 1965 Cadillac Coupe DeVille sold for $48,980 on ScreenBid.

Collectors can also look forward to Peggy Olson’s blue SC&P typewriter and Joan Harris’ office ice bucket and tumbler set and Stan Rizzo’s notepad, complete with sketches.

Check out Screenbid.com for a preview of some items on auction and mark your calendars for June 1 because this is one auction all ‘Mad Men’ fans shouldn’t miss.

Royal Treat: Louis XIII L’Odyssee d’un Roi

Always pushing the boundaries of exclusivity and luxurious design, cognac house Remy Martin, in collaboration with some of the biggest names in artisanal design, has come up with a full luxury set featuring its Louis XIII cognac at the heart. The aptly titled L’Odyssee d’un Roi (A King’s Odyssey because, of course) features a bespoke trunk by Hermes, pieces by silversmith Puiforcat, and glasswork by royal crystallerie Saint-Louis. It will be auctioned off in New York at Sotheby’s in September. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Film Foundation, a non-profit that works to preserve and restore classic films. You might recall that Louis XIII enjoys grand theater, as evidenced by its efforts with the John Malkovich film.

The bespoke trunk by Hermes is entirely hand-stitched with fine leathers and bears the same design as a classic steamer trunk (fitting in with the Odyssey theme). Puiforcat has its hand in making the elegant white-gold pipette bearing the name and the logo. The beautiful decanter with its ridges on the side, as well as four serving glasses, were blown by a craftsperson, cut, and engraved with impeccable skill at Saint-Louis. The whole package comes with a book chronicling the global journey of the cognac that boasts a history stretching back to the 1870s. All of it added up together as 1,000 hours of labor split between 50 artisans.

Of course we have to take note of the cognac itself. The liquid gold in each decanter is the work of both the current cellar master Baptiste Loiseau and his predecessor Pierrette Trichet. The blend invokes tints and notes of myrrh, honey, immortelle, plum, honeysuckle, wood bark, leather and passion fruits. What we know from oficial sources is that this blend is not the standard Louis XIII offering, although it is still all Grand Champagne. Before the auction, the three sets created will be exhibited in New York, Hong Kong and London.

You can watch how the process of craftsmanship comes together below, and if you want to know more, you can check out Remy Martin’s website.