March 31, 2008

nvvoguerussia03-08cover.jpgNatalia Vodianova gathered stars in Moscow to help raise record-breaking $6 million to support the Naked Heart Foundation, which builds Play Parks for Russian Children.

The most successful charity event in Russia’s recent history.
The Love Ball took place on 12-14 February 2008 with a 3 days celebration culminating with the Valentine’s inspired Love Ball, a Gala dinner for more than 400 international and Russian guests in support of Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation. The Honourable Natalia Vodianova Portman and her husband the Honourable Justin Portman; Mr Valentino; Lucy Liu; Natalie Imbruglia; Eva Herzigova; Mario Testino; Diane von Furstenberg; Andrei Shevchenko; Paolo Roversi, Alfonso Cuaron; Rustam Tariko, Russian Standard; Svetlana Zakharova, Prima Ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet; Sati Spivakova, designers Alena Akhmadulina, Denis Simachev, Igor Chapurin, Dasha Zhukova, Helen Yarmak and Gyunel Boateng; Mark Dunhill, Fabergé; Aliona Doletskaya, Vogue Russia; were among those you came out to support the Naked Heart Foundation. The event has been possible thanks to the support of general partner, Russian investment bank Kit Finance and the kind help of organiser Eventica. $6 million were raised mainly through the auction by Christie’s of unique lots specially created under the theme of Love.

Natalia Vodianova, Founder and President of the Naked Heart Foundation, said:

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of The Love Ball. From the very outset of our preparations for the event, I did not for one moment doubt the generous spirit of the Russian business community. For us, the thing that was of crucial importance was that all participants in the event – the organisers, the artists, the auctioneers, even the presenter of the evening, Andrei Malakhov – they all offered their services to the project without asking for anything in return. The results of the evening and the funds raised at the auction exceeded even our most ambitious expectations. I am very thankful to the Russian authorities and my friend Marianna Belshanskaya without who we wouldn’t have had such a beautiful set as Tsaritsino. I do hope that our Ball becomes something of a tradition. As for the money that has been raised – in a very short time we will be working on the designs for new Play Parks in Petrozavodsk, Saransk and Nizhnevartovsk. In total this year, we are planning to create not less than eight play parks for Russian children.”

Re-creating the atmosphere of grandiose 18th Century Catherine the Great-era society balls, The Love Ball was a unique event for our times. 220 tons of ice was used to construct the ‘Ice Palace’, built especially for the event at the Tsaritsino Estate, whilst the latest light technology from Great Britain was employed to highlight the stunning architectural and natural surroundings. In the words of Natalia Vodianova herself “the organisers’ concept to construct an enormous Ice Palace here in Moscow is a revival of the all-but-forgotten tradition of the glittering and sumptuous charity balls, which were once widespread in Imperial Russia.”

The aims of the Love Ball were to present the Naked Heart Foundation to a predominantly Russian audience in Russia, to raise funds for the construction of Play Parks throughout the Russian Federation costing on average $300,000 each, and in addition to further nurture the developing concept of philanthropy in Russia.

Guests were delivered to Tsaritsino in supreme comfort by a private train provided by the Russian Railways. The Love Ball began with a Champagne Reception lit by hundreds of glimmering candles in the surrounds of the Catherine Hall of Tsaritsino Palace. Guests had the opportunity to view the exclusive collection of jewel-encrusted mobile telephones from Vertu’s Signature Diamond range.

Following the Reception, guests were invited to cross the specially-constructed bridge from Tsaritsino Palace to the Ice Palace, floodlit in icy blue light. Ladies in an array of stunning couture dresses were led across the bridge by their black-tie clad partners under gently falling snow, to the accompaniment of the 2 camera flashes of a hundred photo-journalists. In the bitter Moscow cold, guests were given traditional Russian shawls to protect them as they walked from Palace to Ice Palace. Upon entrance to the banquet hall, guests were greeted with beautiful fresh orchid flowers tied with Official Partner Calvin Klein euphoria-scented ribbons.

The opening address of the Ball was delivered by Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Russia, Aliona Doletskaya, who introduced guests to the host of the event – supermodel and founder of the Naked Heart Foundation,

Natalia Vodianova – as ‘the national pride of Russia’. Natalia Vodianova led guests through the activities of the Foundation and introduced the unique auction lots that would go on sale during the evening to raise much-needed funds to build Play Parks in Russia. Natalia’s speech was followed by a film about the Naked Heart, produced by TV journalist – and friend of Natalia – Andrei Loshak. As the film ended, Natalia declared the Love Ball open and the stage was filled by ballerinas from the Bolshoi Ballet with a performance of the ‘Polonaise’ from Eugene Onegin. The evening’s compere, TV presenter Andrei Malakhov then took to the stage to introduce the auctioneers, Hugh Edmeades, International Chairman of Christie’s and Sandra Nedvedskaya, Christie’s Representative in Russia. The core event of the evening was the charity auction of exclusive lots, all specially contributed for the Love Ball, and all of which are unobtainable by any other means. All funds raised during the auction went directly to the Naked Heart Foundation for the purpose of constructing Play Parks in Russia at an average cost of $300,000 each. The parks are equipped with modern facilities and adhere to international safety standards. The Foundation selects the location of each park, produces designs, implements construction and monitors each stage of the process from conception to opening with the help of their partner KSIL. Today, thanks to the efforts of the Naked Heart Foundation, there are already five children’s Play Parks in Russia – in the Nizhegorodskaya and Kemerovsky Regions and in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Republic.

Anastasia Zalogina +7 916 1000 652 –
Valerie-Anne Creps +44 77 4884 7260 –

Categories: event, model, model profile.