Big names hit catwalk to raise money for charity

The Prague Post

Third-annual event draws acting and singing stars to help support UNICEF

The stars are aligning, but not for an astrological event.

These luminaries are from the Czech fashion, acting and modeling worlds, and they are queuing up to strut their stuff on the catwalk for charity at the third annual Hvezdy pro UNICEF (Stars for UNICEF), which takes place Dec. 7 at the Czech Museum of Music.

“In 2008, we decided to help UNICEF by doing what we do best,” said Simon Schut, managing director of Panda Production, the organizer of the event. “We took advantage of our affiliation with many famous Czech people and our production skills, and in cooperation with the Czech branch of UNICEF, we produced a unique fashion show.”

Outfits are made by local designers and worn by celebrities. While mum on the details, Schut insisted the event isn’t all fashion, but an evening of celebrity-spotting and music. Organizers have already lined up an A-list of local talent. Singers and actresses like Svetlana Nálepková, Petra Cernocká, Adéla Gondíková and Heidi Janku are just a few who will be showing off the work of designers like Libena Rochová, Helena Fejková, Petr Kalouda and Denisa Nová.

“We had a chance to cooperate with many people, and we hoped it would be interesting to have so many designers and so many celebrities together for a show,” Schut said. “It was and still is interesting for people.”

Last year’s event raised 100,000 Kc for UNICEF. The money from the first two events went to UNICEF’s vaccination program, while this year’s funds will be donated to UNICEF’s School in a Box, a kit that contains supplies and materials for a teacher and up to 80 students.

UNICEF has an annual budget of about $3 billion (56.2 billion Kc). Governments contribute about two-thirds of that with private donors making up the difference. It has more than 200 country offices and seven regional headquarters and focuses primarily on long-term humanitarian assistance to mothers and children in the developing world.

“Our agency had cooperated with UNICEF for many years before this event,” Schut said. “For example, every year we participate in the Adopt-a-Doll and Save-a-Child projects. We contact famous people with the request to make a doll, which is then auctioned off, and the money raised is donated to UNICEF.”

For the past two years, actress Whoopi Goldberg has been the Stars for UNICEF patron, and Schut is hoping she will take up the mantle again this year. UNICEF often deploys celebrities to raise awareness about the troubles of children in the developing world. Goldberg, soccer star David Beckham, actress Susan Sarandon, actor and former James Bond Roger Moore, action star Jackie Chan, singer Shakira and the entire Berlin Philharmonic are among the present goodwill ambassadors for the organization.

At the Dec. 7 event, the venue should prove to be as interesting as the show. The Czech Museum of Music is a former Baroque church from the 17th century with soaring ceilings and an austere feel. Organizers hope to put a spark into the place, promising a light show and musical performances. While tight-lipped about many of the specifics, Schut did let slip that guests can anticipate an “”atypical stage, which will be a surprise.””

“Visitors can look forward to an unforgettable event full of original fashion, celebrities and music,” he said. “The interest is increasing every year. People can still buy tickets, but hurry up!”