In the fight against breast cancer, Bloomingdale’s is saying “put up your dukes.”
The retailer has roped in 13 designers to customize Everlast boxing gloves, which will be auctioned off to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The auction, part of Bloomingdale’s annual Pink campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, runs Oct. 1 to 30 on CharityBuzz.com, with $250 the minimum bid.
Stepping into the ring were Alice + Olivia, APL, Bally, Charlotte Tilbury, Fila, MCM, Rag & Bone, Ralph Lauren, Sachin & Babi, Sean John, Swarovski, Zac Posen and Michael Aram.
“As a designer, it’s great to be thrown into something and have to figure it out,” Aram said. “When this challenge came up, I thought about how to make it my own and build a story into it. I am also a cancer survivor. I feel close to the subject. The metaphor for boxing gloves is really a good one. They are so soft, supple, fleshy, but they symbolize something fierce and aggressive.”
Aram, whose creative process is rooted in a realistic take on nature, customized his gloves with gilt orchids dipped in silver for a metallic quality, and like the other designers, he kept the Everlast logo visible, but with a “frosting.”
“I always love orchids as a symbol of extreme femininity,” Aram said. “Where flowers grow there is hope, gracefulness, determination.”
Zac Posen used classic elements from Zac Zac Posen handbags including his leather and floral motif; Rag & Bone gloves are hand-dipped in pink glass with a crushed look to signify “crushing” breast cancer, and Ralph Lauren’s pair say “Love” with an American flag motif, symbolizing the hope to unify the country in its fight against breast cancer.
Swarovski’s gloves, as could be expected, are embellished from fist to wrist with more than 23,000 hand-applied crystals, making a bold statement to signify the strength shown by those touched by the disease; Charlotte Tilbury’s gloves are covered in her signature night crimson and blush nude colors, to represent hope, strength and sophistication, and Bloomingdale’s in-house creative team also customized a pair of gloves, which will also be auctioned.
“The whole theme behind our campaign for breast cancer awareness is about taking action, empowerment and women’s strength in coping with the disease and getting out in front of it,” said Frank Berman, Bloomingdale’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
As part of the breast cancer awareness initiative, Bloomingdale’s will hold boxing classes in several stores, including the 59th Street flagship in Manhattan. But there won’t be any broken noses. “It’s really about the exercise component with boxing motions,” Berman explained. “It’s shadow boxing. It’s not about fighting someone.”
In 2014, Bloomingdale’s got designers to reimagine pro football helmets in honor of the Super Bowl being hosted by New York and played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The designer boxing gloves will be displayed in the flagship’s Lexington Avenue arcade housing designer accessories. “They’re works of art and conversation pieces, rather than meant to be functional,” Berman noted. Fourteen pairs of gloves seemed logical to Bloomingdale’s considering it has supported BCRF for 14 years. Larger-than-life boxing gloves by Jen Mussari of the Ghostly Ferns artist collective in Brooklyn will be displayed, as will punching bags to punch up the presentation. The artist collective also covered a S’well bottle with terms of female empowerment, and created a pin with a pink mascot, both being sold to benefit the cause.
Everlast will host boxing classes Oct. 20 at Bloomingdale’s stores, which are also staging yoga and fitness classes, to advocate health and well-being and cast Bloomingdale’s as a community gathering place transcending selling products.