Heritage Philanthropy - Culture Shock? Not!

Defining luxury aside, luxe consumers today are conscious about their art, culture and heritage. These are certainly considered worthwhile causes to contribute to as much as 'serious' causes like environment, poverty, education and food

By: Karishma Parkash

Posted on: June 10, 2012

Defining luxury aside, luxe consumers today are conscious about their art, culture and heritage. These are certainly considered worthwhile causes to contribute to as much as ‘serious’ causes like environment, poverty, education and food.

Art has a million ways of expressing itself. What may appeal as art to one may not even receive a second glance from another. Everything put aside, one cannot underestimate the power, impact and support that art has all around the globe. Each culture defines and respects art in their own way and both co exist in society and create a world around them that is well respected. Taking this a step further, luxury brands today are redefining classic philanthropy which typically encompass important issues such as environment protection, poverty and education. Pushing the boundaries of the term to include causes such as arts and culture, brands know well how to stand out in a sea full of competitors!

If you are a luxury brand looking to make a statement this year, look to these brands for inspiration. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder! So be it any art or cultural form that interests or inspires you, give it a helping hand and show the world you care. And what better way to do that than to preserve long-forgotten, but equally important, cultural heritage in any form?

Reel life
Films are an important element of any culture and one of the most expressive and popular art forms today. Look back to the times when you have watched a film that has touched your heart or made you laugh till your jaws hurt. Luxe brand Jaeger-LeCoultre sure does remember this and thus became the official partner of the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival. The cooperation between Jaeger-LeCoultre and SIFF will last for three years, during which both sides will work together to restore a number of Chinese classic films and support young and prominent Chinese film directors. This isn’t the first time that Jaeger-LeCoultre has shown their inklings towards moving pictures. Being the official partner of the Venice International Film Festival for six years now, Jaeger-LeCoultre shares the common devotion to the art heritage.

This is not all! During the 64th Cannes International Film Festival, Jaeger-LeCoultre supported the ‘Cannes fait le mur’ photography exhibition in partnership with the Contour by Getty Images photo agency which started around May 10 and will go on till July 5, 2011. With such lights, camera and action - it is bound to be a hit with the masses.

If we are talking about motion images and films, Gucci is surely not far behind. Early June saw The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Gucci announce the 2011 recipients selected for the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund. The Fund, now in its fourth year, provides finishing finances, year-round support and guidance to domestic and international documentary filmmakers with feature-length films highlighting and humanizing issues of social importance from around the world. Nine projects have been selected from 450 submissions from 38 countries to receive a total of $150,000, to be administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. If that’s not enough, this year the PPR Corporate Foundation for Women’s Dignity & Rights, has joined the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, and created the Spotlighting Women Documentary Award, which will annually provide funding of $50,000. Three film projects that illuminate the courage, compassion, extraordinary strength of character, and contributions of women from around the world have been chosen for the inaugural award.

Going back in time a little, last year Gucci and The Film Foundation announced that Martin Scorsese would attend the 5th International Rome Film Festival that took place on October 30, 2010, in order to present the world restoration premiere of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960). The premiere of the 4K digital restoration celebrated the 50th anniversary of this Italian cinema classic. To date, Gucci has supported the restoration of six iconic films and donated a total of $1.5 million to The Film Foundation as part of its ongoing commitment to preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of landmark cinema.

Dramatic Art
In London this March, The Whitechapel Gallery’s annual fundraising party in partnership with Tod’s and Harper’s Bazaar celebrated the fusion of art and drama in an exceptional one-off event featuring stars of stage and screen at the Gallery. The Tod’s Art Plus Drama Party 2011 raised £225,000 to provide vital funds for the Whitechapel Gallery’s Education and Community programme that works with over 3,000 children and 30 diverse community groups each year.

The event featured a multitude of entertainment. Guests bid for a special Tod’s D-Bag customized by artist Ian Davenport, as well as for artworks during an auction led by Sotheby’s Oliver Barker. The high profile guests enjoyed a unique evening of dramatic performances by world renowned actors with scripts written by leading contemporary artists. The evening also celebrated Teatro alla Scala’s ongoing collaboration with Tod’s with the screening of An Italian Dream and a solo performance by Marta Romagna - prima ballerina at Teatro alla Scala. Fashion designer Erdem created a dramatic mask invitation especially for the event.

For those who are unaware, Teatro alla Scala, inaugurated in 1778, is one of the most famous havens for arts in the world and the spiritual home of opera and ballet in Italy. Believe it or not, this is the first time Teatro alla Scala has partnered with a luxury or fashion brand on a project on this kind. Tod’s created a conceptual video together with Teatro alla Scala that starred ballet dancers interpreting, through dance, the multiple steps that take place in the creation of a Tod’s shoe! Through the partnership, Tod’s will help Teatro alla Scala to cover the costs of their productions for an artistic season (one year).     

Rememeber the mighty Colosseum that you have seen in a million and one pictures? Many will be glad to know that Tod’s is also associated with this historical landmark. Diego Della Valle, President of Tod’s Group, and Italy’s Ministry of Culture confirmed in January this year that the Tod’s Group will finance the complete restoration plans for Rome’s historic Colosseum with a monetary commitment of 25 million euros. Mr Della Valle supported his decision by mentioning that since Tod’s is a strong representative of ‘Made in Italy’, it is their duty to contribute to Italy’s image and credibility, as well as its cultural heritage.

So sit back, relax and watch how time has passed by all these years and get up to give a standing ovation to these brands that have not only redefined luxury for the world, but also preserved a little bit of everything in any possible way.

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