Buy shoes, help kids. That was our mantra on Tuesday night, when Daniella Vitale, Desiree Gruber and Simon Doonan hosted cocktails and shopping at Barneys New York to support UNICEF, which provides children across the world with health care, clean water, emergency relief and more. (Amazing fact: UNICEF has saved more lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world.)
Ten percent of the proceeds from all shoe sales during the event were donated to UNICEF, plus, one lucky winner went home with 12 new pairs of shoes—one for every month of the year. Shopping for a cause—what could be better?
We caught up with a few of the hosts and attendees at the event to find out what they were buying and why they support UNICEF.
“This is a fantastic event. Buy shoes, help kids. It’s hitting a sweet spot, so we’ve got a great turnout. Women are lounging all around the shoe salon, exchanging deep philosophical ideas and buying shoes—and raffle tickets because we’re going to have a draw. You win 12 pairs of shoes. I think if I won that, and I was a woman, I would have a stroke. Wouldn’t you just go insane? It would be like Supermarket Sweep meets Imelda Marcos.”
- Simon Doonan
“I’ve had a professional relationship with UNICEF for about 11 years. I did a field trip with Caryl Stern, the CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, to Ethiopia and Malawi, and that really changed my whole view. I think it’s a charity that speaks to every country and every ethnicity because, first and foremost, it supports children. Barneys wants to be much more civic and philanthropic so this is the perfect way to kick off the relationship, which we hope will be a long one. Now, I’m getting a cocktail and buying shoes!”
- Daniella Vitale
“I’m a shoeholic, like all my friends, so hosting this event was a no-brainer. I’m wearing these Pierre Hardy’s that I love, and this morning, I was standing in front of my house hailing a taxi and a guy on a bike comes by and he goes, ‘Nice shoes lady!’ I thought it was a nice way to start the day. I’m a huge supporter of UNICEF. As soon as you have a child, it becomes so real to you and you realize, ‘I’ve got to help everybody out there that I can.’ So we’ve got shoes and a great cause. Great combination.”
- Desiree Gruber
“It’s May Day, so I’m inspired by anything and everything as bright as possible with as much color as possible!”
- Charlotte Blechman
“It was so nice of Daniella, Desiree and Simon to host this event at Barneys for UNICEF tonight. It has been a lot of fun and raised money for a great cause.”
- Monika Mraz, Senior Director of Special Events, U.S. Fund for UNICEF