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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Montblanc Showcases UNICEF Literacy Partnership With Star-Studded Gala

Hugh Jackman (L) and Diane Kruger attend the Montblanc & UNICEF Gala Dinner. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Montblanc held a star-studded gala Monday to showcase its long-term support of the United Nations Children’s Fund, better known as UNICEF, and to launch a multi-media campaign that continues this support with new products and by encouraging others to participate in literacy activism. 

The event at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the main branch of the New York Public Library, was attended by Montblanc brand ambassadors Hugh Jackman and Charlotte Casiraghi; and friends of the brand, including Diane Kruger, Olivia Palermo, Elsa Hosk, Rami Malek and Johannes Huebl.

Guests dine inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building during the Montblanc & UNICEF Gala. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris 

The brand used the event to unveil the “Montblanc for UNICEF” writing instruments, stationary, leather goods, watches and jewelry. 

The “Writing Is A Gift Collection” is now available at Montblanc boutiques and on Montblanc’s website. For every piece in the collection sold till March 31, 2018, Montblanc will donate 3 percent of the proceeds to support UNICEF and its literacy projects, with a minimum amount of $1.5 million guaranteed by Montblanc. UNICEF does not endorse any brand or product.

The new collection features the “UNICEF Blue” signature color and the letters from the six different alphabets that children use when they first learn to write. 

Watches from the Montblanc for UNICEF collection on display during the Montblanc & UNICEF Gala. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Among the pieces in the collection, the Meisterstück, “Writing is a Gift Edition,” is an original twist on Montblanc’s iconic writing instrument with the UNICEF alphabet-inspired design. Each pen in the collection has a blue sapphire that signifies the bond between Montblanc and UNICEF. The leather goods feature blue lining with the same alphabet characters. Two editions of the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum Timepieces pair a manufacture worldtime complication with symbolic references to UNICEF. 

In brief words Jackman said the initiative was a “win-win” situation.

“We can have something of beauty, things we can enjoy and have for the rest of our lives and at the same we give back to people who don’t have … access to education, he said. “Education isn’t a privilege, it is a right. It is a great honor to be ambassadors for a company that supports things that really matter.”

Montblanc CEO Nicolas Baretzi (L) and Hugh Jackman attend the Montblanc & UNICEF Gala Dinner. Photo byDimitrios Kambouris 

The event was co-hosted by Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc CEO, and Jo Bourne, UNICEF’s chief of education, Program Division. For Baretzki, it was his first public appearance as head of the brand since taking over the top spot April 1, replacing Jérôme Lambert—who was promoted to a corporate position with Montblanc’s parent company, Richemont.

It is appropriate that a luxury brand best-known for creating fine writing instruments would be in the forefront of a worldwide child literacy and education initiative. Over a 13-year period Montblanc said it has donated approximately $10 million to UNICEF. Over the years this funding, it says, has improved learning conditions for more than 5 million children throughout the world by providing quality learning materials and better teaching.

The venue chosen for the occasion, a library, particularly the Beaux Arts designed structure with high ceilings, sculpted marble and bronze, was an equally appropriate choice.

This theme and the craftsmanship that went into the collection were on display through skilled artisan demonstrations. 

Guests receive custom name cards by a calligrapher during the Montblanc & UNICEF Gala Dinner. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris 

The event also served as the beginning of a campaign that aims to pass on the gift of writing even further through its key message: “Writing opens up the world. Pass on this precious gift.” The campaign will feature Jackman in print and online. 

Jackman noted that people don’t have to buy a product to be involved in this initiative. One way for anyone to be involved is by sharing their emotional memories about writing with a photo of a handwritten memory on social channels using the hashtags #PassItOn, #Montblanc, #UNICEF #foreverychild.

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