Nonetheless, 32-year-old top model Bianca Balti is more than just striking blue feline eyes and plump lips. After being approached at Milan’s Malpensa airport last September, to make a monthly donation to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) organization, she felt like doing more. So she did. Recently the Lodi-born beauty sold off items from her personal wardrobe – collected over a period of 11 years – in the name of charity.
“I got the idea to sell off my clothes after becoming a donor of the UNHCR. I wanted to give these clothes away to charity, but since you typically can’t donate clothes to charity, I reached out to UNHCR to see what we could do. There are many charities out there, but the trust and respect the United Nations has earned – also politically speaking – motivated me even more to support them. Watching the movie Hotel Rwanda last summer, also made me realize that the United Nations is the final hope to so many people,” Balti says when we meet earlier today at Milan’s Superstudio 13.
Though the “A Piece of Me for the Refugees” sale officially kicked off 3PM Italian time, a select few were already able to nab some Balti vintage. “The first shopper spent €1000 already – and she’s just getting started,” Bianca shares enthusiastically while looking at the mentioned shopper, who was trying on a pre-owned printed Miu Miu number. “In the end, anything we’ll raise is a success, since these clothes weren’t being used anymore. Even if it’s just €1000, it can already help out a refugee family,” the mother of two exclaims. She further adds, “When you become a mother, it’s your mission in life to protect your child. I therefore can’t imagine what a hell it must be crossing the sea with a crying child on your lap, without any certainty of making it to the other side alive.”
The items that Balti put up for sale, were divided across eight clothing racks and ten tables inside the Superstudio 13 venue. Items included apparel from numerous brands such as Balenciaga, Chloé, Giorgio Armani , Etro, and Louis Vuitton . Shoes by the likes of Cesare Paciotti, Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney were also present. In addition,Zara faux furs and a faux Birkin bag were thrown into the mix. Finally, a Guerlain makeup set, Swarovski crystals, and a piece of fan-made artwork were sold off as well. “Prices start at €5 for jeans, up to €500 max. The prices are just symbolic honestly, in the end I just want to raise as much money as possible for the UNHCR.”
Proceeds of the April 27th sale will be used to aid Syrian refugees in Jordan. Balti concludes saying, “I wouldn’t know the political solution to ending the conflict in those countries that refugees escape from. The only thing I know for sure however, is that we need to help these people.”