Critiques

Luxury brand Valentino has a very big heart

Can a global luxury company have a heart? Especially in the middle of the holiday shopping season? In the case of Valentino, the answer is an emphatic yes. On a clear balmy Manhattan night, illuminated by a nearly-full moon, hundreds of holiday lights, and brightly-lit store windows, we set out for the Valentino flagship store on Fifth Avenue for an event celebrating the launch of the maison’s holiday collaboration with Christy Turlington Burns to benefit her charity Every Mother Counts. #everymomcounts

We’ve already shared an overview of the many charities being supported by the big luxury brands this holiday season. Of these, we absolutely love the Valentino approach.

Here’s how it works. Valentino’s Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli has designed a limited-edition $100 white tee with a large red heart proclaiming “Every Mother Counts” on the front, with the organization’s logo on the back (it’s a sketch of a mother cradling an infant). 100% of the proceeds from purchases of the tee will go to the charity. They’ll be sold at Valentino’s flagship in Manhattan and at Valentino.com until the end of the year.

Prior to this event, we didn’t know much about what the organization does. We’ve since learned that Every Mother Counts is doing vitally important work in the world. Its mission is helping mothers access maternity care, thereby making pregnancy and childbirth safer for women everywhere. There are three primary areas of focus:

  • In some parts of the world, women have to walk an average of 8 miles to reach the nearest public health facility, sometimes even if they’re in labor. Providing access to transportation is a key priority.
  • Sometimes once a mother reaches a clinic, there is no trained healthcare provider to care for them. The organization supports the training of skilled birth attendants for mothers and babies.
  • Clinics need supplies, including electricity and basic medical supplies.

In terms of geography, Every Mother Counts is currently funding efforts in northern Tanzania, Haiti, India, Florida, Uganda, Bangladesh, and Guatemala. Past funding efforts have helped families in Malawi, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, New York City, Syria, and Nepal.

Turlington Burns’ star power has fueled the organization’s ability to partner with a number of fashion and design companies. For example, for Mother’s Day this year, the Every Mother Counts “Orange Rose” campaign was created to raise funds through product partnerships with Tom’s shoes; restaurateur Mario Batali; Farmgirl Flowers; Vosges Hot Chocolate; Marc Jacobs and several other luxury brands.

The price points have been reasonably accessible for all of these product collaborations. And the organization has proven that it can make a little go a long way: based on the statistics on its website, tens of thousands of people can be helped with funding of just $10 per person.

Back at Valentino, in addition to the tees, the Fifth Avenue flagship is showcasing a new capsule collection of bags, sneakers, and ready-to-wear with Rock Stud spikes and oversized red hearts. The retail space on Spring Street in SoHo that recently housed the VLTN pop-up store is now hosting one called “I Heart Spike.” It will be filled with various items from this new collection, and if you take a selfie and post it, you’re instantly entered to win one of the bags. We would not describe these other heart-embellished products as “reasonably affordable” — they’re definitely luxury-priced. They’re also drop-dead gorgeous, and exude a truly joyful spirit. They’d make an excellent gift for your bae.

While we would definitely not say no should one of these bags find its way under our tree, we feel that we’ve already received our holiday wish from Valentino. While visiting the launch event, thanks to our sales associate Nina, we got to meet the one-and-only Pierpaolo Picciolo! We cannot tell you how happy this made us. We’re pretty sure that we thoroughly embarrassed ourselves gushing over how much we love his vision and his clothes (to be honest, we can’t remember most of it, the entire episode went by in a blur). We do remember that the designer handled it all with grace and charm. We said: “We love your work! Thank you for designing clothes that actually fit curvy girls!” He just grinned and replied: “Hey, of course! I’m Italian!”

OK, huge crush confirmed.

Bravo, Valentino and Every Mother Counts. We’ll definitely be wearing your heart on our sleeves this holiday.

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