It’s often said that a truly charitable act is one that nobody knows about. And, although subtlety was definitely not the order of the day at the recent Brilliant is Beautiful Gala in aid of Artists for Peace and Justice’s (APJ) Global Education Fund for Women, one man that chose to stay out of the limelight was the evening’s co-host Pascal Raffy of Bovet 1822. There to offer silent support, Raffy was, however, happy to join other celebrity “waiters” to serve dinner at Claridge’s, joining a team that included headline grabbers such as “Lady of London” Caroline Stanbury, models Petra Nemcova, Arizona Muse and Lara Lieto, actresses Kim Cattrall and Elizabeth Hurley, singer Nicole Scherzinger and even the Duchess of York.

An international project that helps provide education to women and girls who would otherwise be denied it, Brilliant is Beautiful, is the brainchild of APJ founder and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis. The aim of the evening in London was to raise money through two auctions (silent and traditional) as well as to raise awareness of the charity and to honour women of achievement who are using their status to raise awareness of, and change the future for, less privileged communities where women’s education and human rights are often secondary concerns.

Of the latest event, Haggis says: “We were thrilled to return to Claridge’s for our second APJ Gala. This is the hallmark event of our Brilliant is Beautiful campaign and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the great people of London whose passion and generosity is helping so many young women in some of the poorest communities get the education and opportunities they deserve.”

Raffy, Duchess of York, Haggis, Petra Nemcova (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)
Raffy, Duchess of York, Haggis, Petra Nemcova (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)
Lara Lieto, Duchess of York, Arizona Muse and Petra Nemcova (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)
Lara Lieto, Duchess of York, Arizona Muse and Petra Nemcova (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)

Since Raffy acquired Bovet in 2001, the charity endeavors undertaken by the maison have been exclusively devoted to children and education, this made AJP the perfect partner for the brand and, after meeting Paul Haggis five years ago, Raffy found himself immediately aligned to the organisation’s aims of helping and empowering children in Haiti, Kenya, Pakistan, Peru and Uganda through programmes in education, healthcare, and dignity through the arts.

On the reasons for choosing to join APJ on a long-term basis, Raffy says: “Our partnership with APJ is emblematic of our own values: quality, integrity, and progress. We are proud to support a cause that shares our commitment to excellence and together our mission is to remove the barriers that poverty poses to a future of opportunity for children.”

The money donated by Bovet covers APJ’s running costs (administration, taxes, etc) as well as being allocated to projects directly. Raffy says: “I decided to support the fundraising efforts of APJ with at least $5 million. It represents a very substantial investment for Bovet and ensures that 100 per cent of pledges raised go directly to help children. Above all, it brings us the pride to help the poorest of the poor; giving scholarships and healthcare for thousands of children each year.”

Paul Haggis, Petra Nemcova, Arizona Muse (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)
Paul Haggis, Petra Nemcova, Arizona Muse (Image ©Vianney Le Caer)
(Image ©Vianney Le Caer)

Thanking all those who supported the London event, Raffy says: “This second London Gala was a huge success thanks to the support and generosity of those who attended. It is especially important as all the money raised directly benefits the Brilliant is Beautiful fund for underprivileged women and girls worldwide.”

In total, the evening raised more than £500,000.

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