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Linda Evangelista Talks Her Recent Comeback at Kering Foundation Dinner: “I Should’ve Left the House Sooner!”

It’s only delightful to witness the attention Linda Evangelista receives when she arrives at any event these days: The legendary supermodel and breast cancer survivor has been enjoying a public comeback that began to roll out slowly when she appeared on the cover of British Vogue in 2022, but ramped up to klieg light level when she was joined by Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell on the September 2023 cover of American Vogue. What does Evangelista think about this sudden burst of attention and adulation? “That I should’ve left the house sooner!” she exclaimed with a laugh to The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday night’s Kering’s Second Annual Caring for Women Dinner at The Pool in New York City.

The annual fundraiser, produced by the Kering Group to benefit a trio of women-focused causes, was more than enough reason to venture out, she added. “I have felt so much love this week, it’s truly overwhelming,” Evangelista said. “But tonight it’s about supporting Salma and supporting the foundation. It just feels right.”

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Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga at the Kering Foundation “Caring for Women” Dinner.

With Salma Hayek Pinault at the helm as event co-chair alongside her husband, Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault, this is the second year the brand — owner of iconic houses that include Gucci, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Boucheron and Pomellato — has produced the fundraiser via its foundation. The night came less than a week after Pinault officially bought a majority stake in talent agency giant CAA, via his investment firm Artémis.

This year, the event raised more than $3 million for three non-profit organizations: the Malala Fund, founded by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the Washington, D.C.-based National Network to End Domestic Violence and the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

Combine the vital nature of these philanthropic efforts with the dominance of Kering labels on red carpets, and the star power in the room was more than understandable. From Kim Kardashian to Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman to Channing Tatum, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio — who slipped into the event discreetly after cameras had departed — the Kering’s Caring for Women Dinner succeeded in bringing out the heavy hitters in both fashion and Hollywood.

Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian, also in Balenciaga, at the event.

“Kering is using its voice and its channel of communication to put focus and light on the issue of supporting women,” explained Sabina Belli, CEO of Pomellato and a member of the Kering Foundation board for roughly eight years. “The first step is to put some focus on and to highlight this dramatic situation; one in three women, as we know, is a victim of domestic violence or violence in general. From there, we must support all the incredible associations who do this work, while advocating for women who need shelters to transition from their situations to becoming survivors. As you can imagine, all of this needs money, and there’s never enough.”

At Tuesday night’s event, Kering raised funds by auctioning a variety of coveted items from its brands, as well as original works from artists including Cindy Sherman. In addition to the Kering touches throughout the evening — hors d’oeuvres were served on Ginori 1735 porcelain china — attendees were similarly embellished in the company’s wares. Yousafzai wore a custom look by Bottega Veneta, while Kidman, Christy Turlington, Isabelle Huppert and Luka Sabbat wore Balenciaga. Hayek Pinault, Bethann Hardison, Julia Garner and Jodie Turner-Smith, meanwhile, were among the guests wearing Gucci, with Winfrey and Zoë Kravitz among those in Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Kravitz noted that she found the evening “inspiring. [Kering has] made such an impact and it’s really very humbling to hear what these [non-profit organizations] do.”

Shiva Baby star Rachel Sennott, also wearing Balenciaga, agreed. “The foundation has done so much for women; to get to be a part of that and celebrating that is huge,” she told THR. “We’re watching right now in real time as women, seeing rights being taken away from us, and it’s scary. You have to do what you can, but it’s also a lot of pressure. As an individual, sometimes I wonder what sort of impact I can make, but I also know there are small things you can do and say to make a difference.”

A view of atmosphere at the Kering Foundation Second Annual Caring For Women Dinner
A look at The Pool, site of the Kering Foundation “Caring for Women” Dinner.

“Even if you can’t give, you can participate,” Hardison told THR. “I always encourage people to explore what they can do — give your time, or just learn, that also makes a difference. That’s also what I love about Salma; when she speaks, it’s very compelling and draws you in, and you want to do more.”

Make no mistake: Hayek Pinault exuded an undeniable power on this night and by all accounts will continue to do so. “She’s a cool girl, and because she’s such a cool, earnest human, she becomes a force,” Hardison added. “She’s fun and she says stuff nobody else would say – I would say the same things also, and that’s why we connect – and I just adore her.”

Later in the evening, Hayek Pinault ultimately proved her force via her passion: “Everybody in this room is a powerful, master dreamer who has the ability to transform dreams into reality,” she said. “So let’s have a collective dream together and take action or an intention that creates a ripple effect that protects women’s dignity.”

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