Carmen Busquets, Amber Heard, Edwina Dunn and Ellie Goulding will be among the honorees at Fashion 4 Development’s First Ladies Luncheon next month.
The Sept. 25 event will be held at the Pierre Hotel, during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. Organized by Evie Evangelou, the gathering underscores messages of women’s empowerment, sustainability and environmentalism. Acknowledging how F4D has been committed to these fundamentals for years, Evangelou said, “I have not changed my approach, but I am happy to see the worldwide wave has finally arrived.”
A new element to this year’s luncheon will be evident during the fashion show. In years past, couture designers like Elie Saab, Ralph & Russo and Guo Pei staged runway shows at the Pierre Hotel. This time, there will be a fashion show by the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Project that featured 30 sustainable dresses made by designers from different parts of the world. Eco Age, Swarovski, Woolmark and Matches Fashion are helping to make the show possible. The CFEP made its debut at a private reception at Buckingham Palace, during London Fashion Week in February.
Created in support of the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals and the U.N.’s “Every Woman, Every Child” initiative that was spearheaded by former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, F4D is a private sector global platform. As for why consumers haven’t been as conscientious about fashion as they have become about other categories like transportation and food, she said, “There needs to be more awareness and education brought forth to consumers regarding the fashion sector, and the fashion industry needs to embrace better practices while creating attractive products that consumers will buy. Some of the eco-friendly products in fashion sometimes are not as desirable, due to certain limitations of their production.”
This year’s Fashion 4 Development award will be given to philanthropist and serial investor Busquets. Having invested in such fashion companies as Net-a-porter and Farfetch, the entrepreneur is also a humanitarian and sustainability champion.
The Women’s Empowerment award will be given to data pioneer and entrepreneur Edwina Dunn, a cofounder of Dunnhumby, a data-driven consumer insights firm. She is also founder of The Female Lead, a nonprofit that highlights the breadth of women’s achievements to help inspire current and future generations. Last year “The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World” book focused on 60 female role models with photos from Brigitte Lacombe and was published by Penguin.
Grammy nominee and “Love Me Like You Do” singer Goulding will receive the Eco Award. The environmentally friendly musician is also a United Nations Goodwill ambassador. She (along with Busquets and others) pitched in last month with judging environmentally friendly designers at an event organized by Livia Firth’s Eco-Age brand consultancy. Goulding will have another reason for congratulations at next month’s event — she and art dealer Caspar Jopling recently announced their engagement.
Actress Amber Heard, who has spoken out against sexual and domestic abuse, will receive the Angel Award. Heard is also L’Oréal’s new global ambassador. This year’s Franca Sozzani award will be given to Francine LeFrak, the Leading Lady award will be presented to PVH Corp’s chief risk officer Melanie Steiner and the League of Gentlemen award will be given to The Woolmark Co.’s managing director Stuart McCullough. And Fabiola Beracasa will be named F4D’s Goodwill Ambassador.
During cocktail at next month’s luncheon, one-off creations by eight fashion designers from Africa, Albania and Brazil will be showcased. Their creations will be inspired by handbags donated by Armani, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada, Tod’s, Valentino and Versace. African Fashion International is curating and sponsoring the African designers.
In addition, Albanese designer Mirela Nurce will exhibit her silk garments imprinted with the drawings of children with hearing difficulties.