SCALING UP: A crowd of 400 gathered at the Palais Brongniart for the sixth edition of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s annual Dîner des Maisons Engagées.
“We believe in actions that are lasting, in actions that demonstrate sense and solidarity,” declared Chantal Gaemperle, human resources and synergies director for the group, referring to the broad range of organizations and institutions supported by LVMH businesses. Gaemperle and group managing director Toni Belloni were the evening’s hosts.
The charity gala drew executives from around 30 of the luxury group’s vast stable of high-end labels, along with actors, television personalities and singing stars including Jain. It raised funds for the pediatric hospital Robert-Debré and its research into sickle cell anemia, one of the most common genetic conditions in France, and also prevalent in Africa. It also brought support to Kelina, Flora Coquerel’s nonprofit organization geared toward young mothers and their children in Benin.
Taking in the cavernous space and its gilded ceiling, Dikom Bakang-Tonje, cofounder of Dear Muesli, an organic cereal company, said he jumped at the invitation to attend a gala dinner for the first time.
“I’m loving it, to see all the people dressing nicely — and the food seems to be amazing,” he enthused.
Along with the meal and the evening’s raffle of LVMH wares — jewelry from Fred and Chaumet, handbags from Dior, Givenchy and Celine, various perfumes and Champagne — guests were treated to singing performances from Angélique Kidjo and Kimberose.
Gaemperle called out names of executives from the various houses present, and, to the beat of a bouncy Beyoncé hit, the stage filled up for another LVMH specialty: a large group photo.
Mamoudou Gassama — better known as Spiderman — took in the scene with a smile.
“This is calm,” he countered when asked to remark on the display of exuberance.
An immigrant from Mali who reached France through Libya and by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, Gassama shot to international fame after scaling a building to rescue a child dangling from a balcony; footage that instantly went viral.
The notoriety can be challenging, said the 22-year-old, even as he politely posed with the steady stream of people stopping by his table for photos.
Everyone wanted to know about his new internship with the Pompiers de Paris, the city’s famed fire brigade.