Earlier this year the Singapore Tourism Board, collaborating with Singapore Botanic Gardens, honored Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini, with an orchid created in her honor: ‘Paravanda Frida’. The long-stemmed flower has pure white petals, contrasting with bronze red lips.
Gucci celebrated the opening of its new flagship boutique in Singapore’s Paragon Centre.
Frida Giannini used the orchid to create a limited edition collection of products using the botanical motif, with part of the proceeds supporting UNICEF’s MILK project.
MILK stands for ‘mainly i love kids’.
Since the Gucci/UNICEF partnership began in 2005, Gucci has committed over $8 million to UNICEF in Africa, where more than 14 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
Currently Gucci is the largest corporate donor to UNICEF’s “Schools for Africa” campaign, and I find it noteworthy that the luxury brand prominently features not only its philanthropy initiatives but ‘real world’ kids photos and facts on its website.
Digging deeper into the Gucci website, we discover a wide range of involvement with young people around the world. The luxury brand supports China Children & Teenagers Fund. And now for the AOC jackpot.
PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights
Gucci is part of the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights, replacing the former SolidarCité. The foundation is tied to PPR, the French multinational founded by François Pinault and now run by his son François-Henri Pinault.
PPR sold its French Printemps store in 2006 and is now focused on Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen (50%) and Stella McCartney (50%), as well as other brands and mail order companies.
The Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights is involved in so many global initiatives for women that we can’t list them. The projects aren’t sexy: genital mutilation, forced child marriage, honour killings, sex trafficking.
In my experience, most American brands shudder at the thoughts of articulating these concerns in the same sentence as their brand names.
What is the halo effect, they ask? We say a big one, if you’re a Smart Sensuality woman blending style and luxury with social conscience and heart.
Gucci supports young women in America, teaming up with Mary J Blige and her FFAWN organization in both product development of special edition products that support her foundation, and direct full-college scholarships. The current winners are featured on the Gucci website.
We pause the Gucci conversation, with an image of Frida Giannini joining Mary J Blige at the ribbon cutting for the Mary J Blige Center for Women in Yonkers. It’s exciting and inspiring to see Gucci and PPR join a select group of what honestly are European conglomerates, not American ones, in supporting women’s projects that aren’t glamorous.
While their brands are featured prominently in the press releases and design strategies, these luxury brands don’t dominate the philanthropy relationship, as happens in America, where some fundraising borders on a grand ad campaign for the brand and not a genuine focus on those in need. Anne