This December, Sotheby’s has joined forces with Creatives for Lebanon and Art for Beirut, two non-profit organisations created by the Lebanese diaspora, to stage a very exclusive auction. ‘To Beirut with Love’ will raise money for the people of Beirut, following the devastating blast that took place on 4 August earlier this year.
This auction sees the fashion and art worlds come together to help sustain these industries in Lebanon. Both non-profit organisations created by the Lebanese diaspora, with Creatives for Lebanon founded by key industry figures including Caroline Issa and Sabine Getty; and Art for Beirut run by those passionate about preserving and restoring the city’s cultural heritage.
The proceeds of the auction will go to five charities including Nusaned, Beit El Baraka, Baytna Baytak, who focus in on shelter for displaced families and rehabilitating local businesses, Al Fanar, a philanthropic organisation providing support for social entrepreneurs and small businesses and House of Christmas, which helps protect heritage buildings.
The virtual auction features more than 60 highly desirable lots, a tightly curated selection of pieces donated by Lebanese artists and designers, alongside some of the most celebrated jewellers, fashion designers and contemporary artists from around the world. Among those that have contributed to this extremely worthy cause are: the artist and former enfant terrible Damien Hirst and fashion houses including Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph & Russo.
Among the most covetable lots from the fashion world is Emma Stone’s thigh-high split dress by Lebanon’s ‘King of Couture’ Ellie Saab dress, which the Hollywood star wore on the Oscars red carpet in 2015. Next up, the haute couture full length dress designed and worn by Middle Eastern icon Sherihan to wear on her ‘Thousand and One Nights’ show in 1987. It took seven months of work at the Atelier by Adnan Akbar to embroider the silk by hand. Also available to bid on is a Valentino Red Tulle Illusion Dress, worn by Jane Fonda at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The art world has also donated some brilliant pieces. There is the chance to snap up a portrait of supermodel Naomi Campbell, shot by Rocco Lapasta and Charles DeCaro. Filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige have donated Wonder Beirut, one of their most important photographic projects, which is inspired by tourist postcards of pre-civil war Beirut. And there is a wanderlust-inspiring print, Le Plongeon from St Tropez, by Herve Nabon from 1985.
The worlds of music and celebrity are celebrated too within the auction, each with a serious story to tell. There is the haute couture matador-inspired jacket customised for and worn by Madonna for her performance of Rebel Hearts, donated by Nicolas Jebran; and a red sequined jacket worn by Mick Jagger during his ‘No Filter’ European tour in 2017. Also going under the virtual hammer is Gerri Halliwell’s showstopper of a leotard, worn for the Spice Girls’ debut single, Wannabe.
Jewellery lovers will have many lust worthy pieces to keep an eye on, including: a beautiful Dior gem set bangle by Victoire de Castellane; a gold ‘pharmaceutical pills’ bracelet with diamond skull charm, gifted by Damien Hirst; a bangle set with rainbow-coloured gems by Victoire de Castellane for Dior; and a pair of earrings by Lebanese designer Noor Fares.
“Lebanon is home to an artistic community whose contributions to the cultural landscape cannot be overstated,” said Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Chairman for the Middle East. “The explosion in the Port of Beirut this summer sent shockwaves through the city and the world, impacting every sector of society in Lebanon with countless tales of loss, damage and displacement. Sotheby’s has come together with our partners to host the auction ‘To Beirut with Love’ to provide much-needed relief and funds to aid the healing process.”
Among the celebrities and influencers supporting the auction is the model and actress Poppy Delevingne, who took to Instagram to showcase Damien Hirst’s bracelet.
You can bid on items for the ‘To Lebanon With Love’ auction until 15 December, with 100 per cent of the proceeds being shared among five charities — Nusaned, Beit El Baraka, Baytna Baytak, Al Fanar and House of Christmas — ensuring that funds reach those areas most in need.