Naomi Campbell, ImanFashion 4 Development First Ladies Lunch, The Pierre, New York NY, USA - 19 Sep 2017

ALL FOR FRANCA: Iman, Naomi Campbell and other honorees at Tuesday’s Fashion 4 Development First Ladies’ luncheon used the occasion to pay tribute to the late Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani.

F4D founder Evie Evangelou started things off at The Pierre event with “unending thanks” for Sozzani, who passed away in late Decemeber and served as an F4D Goodwill ambassador from 2011 to 2016. “She was a dreamer and those dreams took her places where no one else was,” Evangelou said.

Via video, her son Francesco Carrozzini recalled how his mother suggested they go to Africa to see what the situation was and to meet with designers and production people. “So we did…I really cannot think of her happier than that. She felt useful and she felt that what she learned was really coming to fruition for the first time in her life,” he said.

Before the program started, F4D’s Angel award winner Campbell, said, “It’s emotional for those of us who miss her. She would be happy that we are going on with this for the people who will get help through this with opportunities and platforms.”

The way Campbell sees it, “There’s nothing challenging about giving. You either want to give or you don’t.”

She has been giving some of her time as a British Vogue contributing editor. Her friend Edward Enninful’s first issue won’t be out until November and she wasn’t providing any details. “It’s a surprise. But I love working with British Vogue. The team is so much fun. There’s a great vibe in the office. It’s exciting — new times,” she said.

Before taking to the stage to honor Campbell, Diane von Furstenberg spoke of the current times, “The most important thing is to feel it. At a time where there is so much insecurity and so many reasons to be afraid from AI to what’s happening with the earth, the only way that you can actually do something is as an individual.”

Caught up with pre-show preparations in Paris, Elie Saab enlisted his son Elie Jr. to oversee a mini runway show at the luncheon. The inaugural winner of the Franca Sozzani award Precious Moloi-Motsepe received a surprise video tribute from Alicia Keys. And Beatrice Borromeo Casiraghi, an F4D special envoy, showed a teaser of her new documentary “Never Children” about youngsters victimized by the Mafia’s heroin drug trade in Italy. The program airs on Sky Media in Italy October 1. Simone Cipriani picked up the League of Gentlemen award and Sybil Yurman accepted the Women’s Champion award. As for why it’s so important to give, Yurman said, “Well, I don’t know what to do with the money quite honestly. No, people really are in great need.”

The F4D Development Award winner Iman acknowledged Sozzani for making social change possible and pioneering fashion’s development in the African continent. “I’m hoping that she and my husband are sitting up there, looking at us and saying, ‘Job well done. But it’s not just about this year but every year.’”

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