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JOINING THE CAUSE: Valérie Trierweiler and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo joined forces to inaugurate a “Bring Back Our Girls” exhibit in Paris. The initiative is designed to raise awareness to call for the release of the 210 abducted Nigerian schoolgirls still being held by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
The exhibit on Place de la République consists of silhouettes, each with the name of a kidnapped girl, connected by chains. Supported by the Kering Foundation, it will stay in Paris for a month and “hopefully travel to other capitals,” said Trierweiler, a journalist (and former first girlfriend of French President François Hollande).
“The strength of mobilization of public opinion is very crucial not to forget the girls. I want to say to them they aren’t only in our hearts but also in the heart of Paris,” said Hidalgo.
Trierweiler, wearing the T-shirt emblazoned with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls that she had sported during Paris Couture Week, said she has been trying to obtain a visa “as a journalist” to go Nigeria for a month but she hasn’t succeeded so far. The T-shirt was manufactured by contemporary label Paul & Joe.
The Kering Foundation, created in 2009, combats violence against women. “It is important to take part in this initiative, to raise awareness,” Kering chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs Marie-Claire Daveu told WWD, noting that one in three women around the world is beaten or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
Salma Hayek, who sits on the Kering Foundation’s board, held the sign printed with “#Bring Back Our Girls” on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Elle Foundation, dedicated to women’s education, also gave its support. “Schools must be sanctuaries,” said Karine Guldemann, general delegate of the Elle Foundation. Denis Olivennes, chairman and chief executive officer of the magazine’s parent company Lagardère Active, also attended the rally.