Contemporary Art

Cultural Crossroads: A Love Letter to Beirut

By Roxane Zand

W hat do Emma Stone, Geri Halliwell, and Damien Hirst have in common? Their names are all connected to items being donated to a major Sotheby’s charity online sale from Dec 7 -15 in aid of Beirut. An Elie Saab 2015 gown worn by the LaLa Land Hollywood idol will be seen alongside a bracelet gifted by enfant terrible Damien Hirst and Geri Halliwell’s showstopping sequined number from the ‘Wannabe’ video.

As if this weren’t enough celebrity factor, there will be Mick Jagger’s jacket from his 2017 European tour, a guitar signed by Pete Townsend, and Madonna’s iconic matador-inspired costume. Nothing feels better than indulging oneself when it means contributing to a great cause and making a difference to the rebuilding of one of the world’s most beloved cities – devastated last August by an explosion that will haunt its history for years to come.

True to the platform-sharing and partnership drive that the brave new pandemic world has inspired, Sotheby’s is collaborating with Creatives for Lebanon and Art for Beirut – two non-profits created by the Lebanese diaspora after the August blast – who (using IMPACT Lebanon and LIFE) - will distribute the sale proceeds amongst five deserving charities: Nusaned, Beit El Baraka, Baytna Baytak, Al Fanar and House of Christmas. Each of these charities address urgently-pressed sectors such as housing, shelters, rehabilitation, support of local businesses and protection of heritage.

The auction highlights the glamour that Beirut was famous for – fashion names such as Giambattista Valli, Ralph & Russo, Alaia and Prada line up to offer gorgeous gowns and dresses, some worn by iconic regional stars at memorable occasions. The garments will be complemented by fabulous offerings of jewelry, with the star-studded designer names of Bulgari and Dior amongst others.

Imagine pairing the silk haute couture gown worn (and signed) by Sherihan in her ‘Thousand and One Nights’ show, with the woven yellow gold, gem-studded, Victoire de Castellane ‘My Dior’ cuff, and slipping into the pair of custom-made Louboutins to be had in this sale! And if intellectual offerings are more to your taste, there will be some historically valuable photographs vying with a work by Huguette Caland, statement furniture pieces and design items that will be irresistible to the discerning eye.

Bidding online has never been simpler. If you prefer the personal touch, old-school phone calls to the Bids Dept will give you instant response. There is no excuse to miss this unique chance to help provide much-needed funds to aid the healing process for this beloved city.

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