“Ladies who lunch” was in full effect at Fashion 4 Development’s 6th annual First Ladies Luncheon, which took place yesterday at the Pierre Hotel during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. The day brought political influencers, fashion industry leaders, and diplomats from over 100 nations together in an effort to celebrate and support the UN’s sustainable development goals. This year’s main honoree was singer Annie Lennox, who was presented the F4D Award, following in the footsteps of last year’s honoree, Victoria Beckham. “I am personally so grateful for all the opportunities I have been given, by the sacrifices of so many courageous suffragette/feminist women, of past and present generations. That is why I am a passionate advocate for the rights of girls and women in the developing world,” said Lennox, who’s the founder of The Circle, an ambassador for UNAIDS, Oxfam, Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Campaign, and more.
Models Petra Nemcova and Natalia Vodianova were also honored before the room full of power players—Petra, for her humanitarian work with the Happy Hearts Fund, which rebuilds schools in areas impacted by natural disasters, and Natalia, for her work at the Naked Heart Foundation, which helps to build an inclusive society for people with disabilities and special needs. The Paris-based mod also announced her latest initiative: Elbi, a digital platform that raises money for great causes and allows you to earn points by doing charitable work that you can spend in the app’s Loveshop, which features a range of designers and brands like Gabriela Hearst, David Yurman, and others the model has relationships with.
Guests, including presenter Arianna Huffington, Orange is the New Black‘s Alysia Reiner, Garance Dore and Suki Waterhouse’s bestie Poppy Jamie, noshed on a vegan menu curated by Chloe (and prepared by the hotel). With lunch came a side of fashion via a First Ladies Haute Couture runway show by Ralph & Russo, featuring looks from the Brit brand’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection. While we’re used to celebs, models, and influencers in the audience of a fashion show, yesterday, there were some rather unexpected guests: lots and lots of Secret Service agents.
“To be able to be involved in F4D Annual First Ladies Luncheon and to convene during the UN General Assembly with influential women from key global industries is a truly momentous thing. From politics and philanthropy, to the entertainment and design industry, we are all here because we are dedicated to making a difference and I am incredibly grateful to F4D for allowing myself and Ralph & Russo to be a part of something so special,” said designer Tamara Ralph.
Fashion 4 Development was founded by Evie Evangelou, who hosted the gathering along with Livia Firth (creative director of ECO Age) and OAFLA (Organization of African First Ladies).