What does it take to bring LVMH North America CEO Renaud Dutreil, Robert Verdi, and Becka Diamond together? Last night, it was a good cause—a massively good one, in fact. At the launch party for MassiveGood, a new charity with Bill Clinton’s blessing, the idea was that the everywoman and man could make a difference. Will.i.am, who has written a campaign song for the organization with South Africa’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka, was on hand to explain. “Let’s say you go on a trip and buy a $500 plane ticket,” the Black Eyed Peas front man explained. “Adding $2 to that isn’t a big deal, but you know it’s going to something good. It’s like getting taxed, only you have a say in where the tax is going.” In this case, it’s going to UNITAID to treat preventable diseases, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health in the third world.
He’s not the only high-profile star pitching in. Spike Lee directed a short promo, Masterpiece—debuting exclusively on Style.com, below—starring Mary J. Blige, Samuel L. Jackson, Susan Sarandon, and Paul Auster. And on Thursday, Clinton will introduce the charity officially to the United Nations by giving the first $2 donation. But Chaka Chaka was hoping for a little musical contribution from the former head of state, too. “You know, I performed for Bill Clinton before,” she mentioned. “I said, ‘Mr. President, now why didn’t you bring your saxophone?’”
For one night, at least, fashion did not compute. “The students, they’re on their computers now if they’re designing. But for this, they used their hands!” dean Simon Collins remarked happily at the LVMH/Parsons “The Art of Craftsmanship Revisited” presentation at Milk Studios last night. The two organizations tapped 23 student teams to design a unique look each, using techniques more often left for the old hands in Paris ateliers. The results, while sometimes uneven, were decidedly unconventional. A zany, clear “bubble” shrug made LVMH chairman Renaud Dutreil ask, “What is that made of?” And a gorgeous hand-knit, oversize sweater would have done the Mulleavy sisters proud.
“If the students are taught the skills, they can see fashion in a whole new way. We could have a whole new generation of designers who know craft,” Dutreil remarked. The Frenchman may be on to something. The handiwork drew quite the crowd—along with Parsons alum Veronica Webb and Fabiola Beracasa, Estelle (pictured) stopped by, but she was quick to deny any ambitions for a line of her own. “Oh, I’m not crafty. I like to see a thing here or there and I know what I like, but I’ll leave the work to the designers,” the singer said with laugh. “But hey, I am up for wearing something crafted!” Hear that, students?