The Kering Foundation hosted its inaugural Caring for Women dinner in New York on Thursday night. The event, which took place at The Pool, was intimate compared to most galas, and the celebrity-per-guest ratio was high. The winning combination of Kering chairman François-Henri Pinault and wife Salma Hayek drew a crowd eager to lend their support to the cause.
“When Salma calls, you come,” said Jodie Turner-Smith, making her way inside cocktail hour donning a yellow Gucci gown for the occasion. “I love what the Kering Foundation represents,” added the actress. “I’m really excited to see what the gala can raise for women and girls.”
Kering brands including Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Brioni, Boucheron and Pomellato were all there, as were retail partners including Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. “I am here to hang and celebrate the Kering group with Saks Fifth Avenue. We are rolling deep today,” said Kat Graham.
The event was hosted by Anderson Cooper, who took on the role of MC, and co-chairs in addition to the Pinaults included Gisele Bündchen, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, artist Julie Mehretu, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Gloria Steinem.
“Any feminist is involved in trying to eradicate violence out of anybody’s life, but women especially. And we all have experienced [violence against women] in particular ways,” Mehretu said. “We either have, or we know somebody who has.”
Other guests included Andra Day, who performed after dinner; Emma Watson — who greeted Steinem enthusiastically upon arrival; Karlie Kloss; Lauren Santo Domingo, Christy Turlington Burns and Ed Burns. Once everybody was seated for dinner, Leonardo DiCaprio, sporting his ever-present baseball cap, materialized at a table with Hayek and Pinault.
The evening benefited several organizations partnered with the Foundation, including the Ms. Foundation for Women, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Global Fund for Women and Jordan River Foundation.
“When Salma called me about this event my first thought was, ‘how timely,’” said Jordan River Foundation founder Her Majesty Queen Rania, addressing the dinner crowd. “Crises are not gender-neutral. Today, we live in a world where seismic disruptions have become the norm. From pandemics to climate change, to mass migration, to conflict and shifting geopolitics. And women and girls are always the first to feel the ground shift under their feet. They are the first to suffer and the last to recover, their agony underground and in the shadows.”
“Together we are taking a stand against violence for the safety for women all over the world,” Pinault said. “Progress comes when more and more voices come together to say, ‘This cannot stand. This is unacceptable. This must change,’” Pinault continued, speaking to the importance of male support for the issue. “We have not yet reached that critical mass of male voices who speak out against violence. So this must become our priority, along with our support to survivors. This can and should be a defining era for men’s solidarity with women. Violence against women was never just a ‘woman’s issue.’ It is everyone’s issue.”
Lydia Fenet of Christie’s led the live auction, which included items and experiences from the various Kering brands, including a one-of-a-kind Bottega armchair that ended up going for $100,000, a pair of Alexander McQueen Armadillo booties which drew a winning $70,000 bid, and a couture fitting experience from Balenciaga — which was won by none other than Watson herself, for well over $100,000. Hayek and Watson stepped in occasionally to offer selfies with bidders in an effort to encourage even higher numbers, and their efforts paid off. The fundraising portion of the evening ended with additional cash pledges from DiCaprio and Cooper to bring the total raised during the auction to more than $1 million. As a whole, the event raised more than $3 million.