Global philanthropy and luxury brands Featured

International charity events include multi-million pound designer auctions and unprecedented partying

A benevolent wind is blowing through the luxury industry – proof of fashion’s passion, energy and heart. Bid on glittering lots donated by a vanguard including Christian Dior, Gucci and Mulberry, dressed head-to-toe in Michael Kors eveningwear, perhaps with something – your own, or on loan – from Van Cleef & Arpels’ Haute Joaillerie collection, to speak from the heart of luxury.

From London to Los Angeles, Beijing to Buenos Aires and Melbourne to Marrakech, on September 15, over the course of 24 hours, the farthest-reaching party known to man was held. Inspired by the adventures of Phileas Fogg, taking in over 90 of the world’s most exclusive destinations and populated with 100,000 especially-selected guests drawn from the world’s elite, The Global Party was an unprecedented soirée. Masterminded by hedge fund legend Lord Fink and entrepreneur David Johnstone, with the initial aim of raising funds for children’s charity Ark, support came from names ranging from Burberry to Harry Winston, from the Mandarin Oriental to The Marbella Club. Tens of millions of pounds in crucial funds for an eventual lucky 15 of the world’s most deserving charities were pledged. One of these was the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, in aid of children with cancer, which threw its high-octane annual fundraising gala in the scintillating grounds of Hampton Court Palace this September. Around the same time, The White Fairytale Love Ball landed in the inimitable environs of Valentino Garavani’s Le Chateau de Wideville on the outskirts of the French capital during Paris Couture Week.

The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award is bestowed on the person making the greatest contribution to supporting culture in the world. The 2011 recipient, HRH the Prince of Wales, was presented with €15,000 to donate to the selected artistic project of his choice at a special awards ceremony in London. As a tribute, a commemorative writing instrument dedicated to Roman cultural founding father Maecenas, made in a limited edition of just 5698 pieces went on sale around the world. They were especially created, alongside a beautifully formed coffee table retrospective of the first two decades of Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. Elsewhere, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards support female entrepreneurs across the globe, who compete throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and – two new destinations launched for 2011 – Middle East and North Africa. The seven winning laureates announced in October were each awarded with $20,000 and a year of coaching towards fulfilling their ambitions.

Offering a share of profits to charitable endeavours is widespread. After all, what can trump the manifest pleasures of shopping better than knowing that a little indulgence brings great benefit to those less fortunate than ourselves? Stella McCartney, an active ambassador for numerous causes, donates 10 per cent of all profits from her New York boutique to charity, and Cartier’s Love Collection remains an icon of both luxury and goodwill. But perhaps the man who set the benchmark was Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf. When he died, he left a legacy that all profits from his haute horological house be directed towards the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, to be distributed to children’s charities and entrepreneurial projects around the world.

It rather feels like all this is just the beginning: the November UK launch of children’s charity Innocence in Danger, chaired by Marie Guerlain, scion of the French perfume house, is garnering some of the most high-octane support this season. Naomi Campbell’s ambassadorship of Fashion For Relief pushes the charity, and its ultra-glamorous worldwide parties; while the success of supermodel Erin O’Connor’s inaugural Tunnel of Love for the British Heart Foundation is set to be repeated with a second event in May 2012.

The Global Party isn’t over, either, with new winners from the initiative’s luxury charity prize draw. Entered by signing up to “Champagne For Life,” with 50 per cent of the £250 fee pledged to The Global Party’s charities, membership guarantees a complimentary flute every day for the rest of your life at selected bars worldwide, chosen every month during 2012. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” David Johnstone, one of the party’s founders, told Luxos. “People love to donate, but they also like to get something back.” This is just the tip of the iceberg for perhaps the most ambitious party the world has ever known. The real Global Party will be held in two years’ time, aiming to raise £100 million for 360 charities over three days and 360 parties, a feat that not even Phileas Fogg would have wagered on.

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