By Lindsay Long, Account Director
Tuesday night featured OAfrica’s first ever gala event, organized by FaircomNY. The evening was held at the Pierre Hotel in New York City in honor of OAfrica’s founder Lisa Lovatt-Smith. Based in Ghana, OAfrica works to shut down illegally operating orphanages, rescue vulnerable children in need of care and reunite children with their families.
Lisa Lovatt-Smith founded the organization in 2002 after leaving a successful career as editor of British Vogue. Lisa is a long-time friend and colleague of many influential figures in the fashion industry, bringing Valentino to the event as the Diamond Sponsor. It was only fitting, then, that the gala take a stylish turn, with modern-day fashion icons stopping for photos on the black carpet before gathering over cocktails and dinner to support OAfrica.
Actress and Co-Founder of Studio One Eighty Nine Rosario Dawson served as Gala Chair, and she opened the event with moving words, expressing her joy that so many were gathered on the night to celebrate her beloved Africa. Dawson, known for her passion of African-inspired designs that characterize her own collection at Studio One Eighty Nine, also shared personal stories from her time in Sierra Leone supporting a family of eight.
Ms. Dawson was not the only celebrity on hand, as actors Ben Stiller and Connie Nielsen also attended the celebration. Valentino was well represented as well, with Creative Directors Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri flying in especially from Italy for the night. They were joined by close friends and colleagues from the fashion world, including Margherita Missoni, Shala Monroque, Selita Ebanks and Chelsea Leyland.
The event featured a live auction with a range of lots—from exclusive access to haute couture events, vacation packages to Ibiza and other exotic locales, a one-of-a-kind French travel experience to Van Gogh’s final home, and a reading by celebrity astrologer Debra Silverman.
All gala guests received autographed pre-release copies of Lovatt-Smith’s upcoming memoir Who Knows Tomorrow, from Weinstein Books. The book will hit shelves in November, with a portion of the proceeds going to OAfrica.
To read Vogue’s coverage on the event, click here.
To read Page Six's coverage, click here.
To read Style.com's coverage, click here.
To read Avenue Magazine's coverage, click here.