The bridge of love by LuisaViaRoma
A work of art and a project to sustain refugees. LuisaViaRoma with Bianca Balti
Andrea Panconesi, a true-blooded Florentine, is the owner of LuisaViaRoma, one of the most respected concept-stores in Europe and, for years now also the most important luxury fashion e-commerce site in the world. Ever since 2010, LuisaViaRoma has, in its sensitivity to corporate social responsibility, promoted experimentation and harmonious synergy between art, fashion, music and design with the Firenze4Ever event. In six years and twelve editions it has involved an impressing number of bloggers, photographers, musicians, artists, web and social experts, fashion editors, celebrities and stars from all over the world.
For the new 13th edition, LuisaViaRoma built a magnificent bridge across the Arno, The bridge of love, designed by architect Claudio Nardi. It was the keynote of the Underwater love party, benefit gala dinner that opened the fashion week of Pitti Uomo with special guest Bianca Balti, and the Everything Starts With a Hug project launched by LuisaViaRoma to support refugees, which provides for welcoming, training and employing migrants in companies of various sectors. “The project took shape remembering that 50 years ago young people from around the world came to help save Florence and its heritage from the flood,” explains Andrea Panconesi, the owner of LuisaViaRoma.
Quite a different perspective than previous editions of Firenze4Ever. What happened?
The refugee emergency is the challenge that our generation must meet. LuisaViaRoma proposes a project to give an answer and hope, a bridge that leads to the future and will transform fear into “liquid love”.
An empathetic undertaking, sensational ingredients and very high objectives. How far can fashion go?
Fashion is a universal language, just as contemporary art and music are, and can reach any target.
What will you do, concretely, to provide support for refugees?
The private companies involved in the project have undertaken to pay a contribution based on their annual sales and to identify the qualified persons in their own organizations who will prepare training courses and hire a certain number of migrants who have participated in the courses. It will all be coordinated by the experience of someone who has demonstrated the ability to welcome and train thousands of young people. I am referring to a highly qualified school of training such as the Elis of Rome, founded by Pius XII, which has been active for over fifty years in preparing young people from the popular neighborhoods of Rome for their future, who would otherwise be left without guidance. We must multiply this reality by ten or one hundred times to receive, train and launch thousands of immigrants into their jobs.
Your background in fashion is undoubtedly prestigious. To be desirable, what does a fashion product need most today: handwork, creativity, sustainability or philosophy?
All of these things together and much passion.
As the entrepreneur of the most important luxury fashion e-commerce site in the world and the concept store in Florence, one of the most respected in Europe, what is the first input you give to your collaborators?
To love their work.
What is the most enthusing thing you’ve had the opportunity to do in your work?
What I’ll be doing tomorrow.