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NEW YORK — Halle Berry’s pregnancy announcement on Friday provided a case of perfect timing to herald her new partnership with Michael Kors to fight world hunger and jointly raise awareness and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme, or WFP.
“I knew I was going to be involved in this months ago, but I didn’t know I was going to be pregnant then,” said Berry, sitting in Kors’ 42nd Street showroom Saturday night before a dinner at the Four Seasons to celebrate the collaboration. “It’s still very new to me. I have a daughter, so I have gone through this before and always knew how important nutrition was during pregnancy.”
This story first appeared in the April 9, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to statistics, hunger can start in the womb, and malnutrition in the first 1,000 days (pregnancy and post-birth) can cause irreversible damage to babies. It’s no surprise that this fact added much personal meaning to Berry’s new initiative.
RELATED STORY: Michael Kors and Halle Berry Team Up to Fight Hunger >>
“We are going to actually take a site visit, and I am hoping to go while I am pregnant to talk to women about the importance of the in-utero health of their children,” she said. “Those are the most important days for women to get a good nutritional diet so that the child can be born healthy and thrive. Going there pregnant — as a mother, as a woman — will have that much more impact.”
Coincidental as the timing of all this may be, Kors didn’t miss a beat. “Look what she was willing to do,” he exclaimed. “She was willing to get pregnant.”
Berry wore a black sheath with a paillette strap from Kors’ fall collection — “just a typical maternity moment,” the designer said.
Joking aside, Berry’s star power and philanthropy appealed to the designer as he was looking to step up his work — and, as he put it, “make the noise” — for the WFP.
“Whenever people say, ‘Who is the Michael Kors woman? Tell me about the Michael Kors woman,’ I always feel she is a glamorous juggler,” Kors said, prompting Berry to chuckle and simulate juggling balls with her hands. “She is someone who can do a lot, and make it all look easy. Here is someone who has remarkable talent, who is an incredible mom and at the same time a very glamorous and compassionate woman. Who could be better than for me to partner on this with? Halle and I are here to let people know that you in fact can make a difference. And we’re both Leos.”
Berry, who has done much work with women and children through the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles and Revlon Run/Walk for Women, was drawn to the initiative and, specifically, collaborating with Kors.
“I thought, ‘I can take my voice and we can, together, put this on a global level,’” she said. “We can finally bang on tables, we can knock on doors and on walls, and use social media to get other people involved in a process that is really doable. It’s not something that we need a lot of research for. It’s something that can be done if we just really inspire and let people know.”
The collaboration is long-term and multifaceted. The kickoff features two new versions of Kors’ Runway watch that were specially created for the designer’s Watch Hunger Stop campaign. The 100 Series watches are priced at $295 apiece and the sale of each watch will provide 100 meals to hungry children through WFP. The watches will launch in Michael Kors stores and on michaelkors.com this month.
“It’s a conversation starter,” Kors said. “It says 100 Series on the watch. Every time you wear it, you remind yourself and everyone around you that you provided 100 meals. Someone may say ‘Oh that’s a great watch, what is that?’ You say, ‘It’s for the World Food Programme and I fed 100 people with this watch.’”
Kors added there are many things an individual can do to help. For instance, the $5 a person spends on a cappuccino could instead feed a child in need for a month.
“When you think of feeding the world, it seems to be so big, and people often think, ‘What is one person really going to do?’” Berry said. “It’s our job, and we hope that we can inspire people to realize that their one cup of coffee could feed a child for a month. We want them to know that that’s important, and we can do it.”
The goal is to motivate five million people to get involved, beginning with the watch.
Kors celebrated the collaboration with Berry at a dinner in the Pool Room at the Four Seasons Restaurant, which was attended by the likes of Solange Knowles, Doutzen Kroes, Hilary Rhoda, Erin Heatherton, Constance Jablonski, Liu Wen, Alana Zimmer, Harley Viera-Newton, Amanda Hearst and Tali Lennox.
In support of the Watch Hunger Stop campaign, Kors created a micro-site at watchhungerstop.com, which will focus on the company’s efforts to end world hunger, from content to a Twitter feed with a window onto the #watchhungerstop conversation, videos, statistics and text-to-donate information.
Kors and Berry plan to work together on the initiative for a long time. “We’re in it,” said Berry, “until they kick me out.”