Sharing and commitment: these words could have summed up the 14th edition of Luisa Via Roma’s charity gala dinner, held at Cinema Odeon Firenze. In fact, the atmosphere was also charged with something much stronger: not only a symbiosis between contemporary art and fashion, but, above all, a genuine desire to raise funds to support a good cause.
For this Italian e-commerce site, luxury, fashion, and contemporary art are above all a question of affinity. Hailed by the Financial Times as « a haven for directional fashion, » Luisa Via Roma has asserted its place as a rare commodity in the landscape of luxury. The brand rises above certain marketing concerns and profit motives to showcase a broad array of luxury brands, while also taking the risk of supporting young creators. Creating a semi-annual evening to benefit a non-profit falls naturally into this same logic.
With performances by Tom Odell, Andrea Bocelli, and Kelly Rowland, the landmark event brings together personalities from fashion, contemporary art, and music to raise funds for the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.
For the 13th edition, Luisa Via Roma focused on creating « The Bridge of Love, » by architect Claudio Nardi, which spans the Arno and symbolizes hope for all the refugees who cross the waters of the Mediterranean each year. This year, the concept store could count on the support of several artists, including Ben Copperwheat, EKTA, and Milena Muzquiz, who collaborated with Lladró to create three works. Their contributions transformed the venue into a veritable contemporary art gallery.
From the start, Luisa Via Roma and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation have remained faithful to their mission: raising money to rebuild schools in Haiti, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. In collaboration with the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, the funds will finance the reconstruction and renovation of two schools for more than 1,350 students. Funds will also go to rehabilitating homes and small production units used to support local families.
Far from the opulence that reigns at certain events (despite our best intentions), the gala afforded an opportunity for constructive exchange and expressed a desire to form a new artistic sensibility with artists whose inspirations extend across borders: « I don’t want to do collaborations that are really commercial, » said Fernanda Hernandez, head of contemporary art projects at Luisa Via Roma. Featuring contemporary artists like Pascale Marthine Tayou (from Continua Gallery), whose work focuses on an individual moving through the world and explores issues relating to the global village, or Mathieu Pernot (from Eric Dupont Gallery), whose work questions contemporary issues such as nomadic life and the fragile nature of human beings in the face of reality, each one of the artists appropriated the space as she/he pleased and delivered her/his own vision of the contemporary world. From Massimo Vitali’s photographs of the beaches of Italian villages, which evoked a certain « Dolce Vita, » to Giovanni Manfredini’s astrological works arising from the contact of his own body on a surface treated with carbon black glazes, each of the artists offered a pluralistic vision of the world that transcends every frontier.
Diversity, multiculturalism, contemporary art: the auction led by auctioneer Simon De Pury, a leading figure in the art market, invited prospective buyers to open their minds, to move beyond any narrow view of art, and to engage with other cultures. With his vast knowledge of contemporary art, his boundless energy, and his famous tenacity, he has managed to raise more than 150,000 euros for the Andrea Bocelli foundation, created in 2011.
Once again, the Firenze4Ever charity gala held by Luisa Via Roma at the legendary Cinema Odeon Firenze reaffirmed a goal held just as dearly in fashion as in art: to go beyond borders and to reclaim public space through sharing, to focus on education, and, above all, to raise public awareness.
Photos: © Luisa Via Roma
Written by Lisa Tomasi