Image credit: firehouse.com
On the morning of April 16th, Asia woke up to the shocking news that one of the world most iconic structures was getting smouldered in flames. The Notre Dame de Paris has been standing for over 800 years and has become the heartbeat of Paris. Parisians and visitors alike gathered in throngs throughout the city and packed the banks of the Seine singing hymns and praying against hope that some 400 fire fighters deployed to stop the raging fire could prevent further damage.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the fire as a “terrible tragedy” but reassures that the worst of the fire has been contained as the cathedral’s façade and the two main towers were declared safe by rescuers. The President has also vowed to start an international fundraising campaign to rebuild the cathedral as the Notre Dame was part of the French destiny.
Since then, three of France’s wealthiest families have joined forces to spearhead a fundraising drive to rebuild the Notre Dame de Paris. The billionaires behind luxury giants such as LVMH Group, Kering and L’Oreal has collectively pledged a combined total of €500 million ($565 million) to help kick start the fundraising of the cathedral.
Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, was the first to offer up its donation with a total of €100 million. Kering is home to brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent and are also the controlling house of Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga.
The Bettencourt family owns a 33 per cent stake in L’Oreal that is the controlling house of brands such as Kiehl’s, Maybelline and Lancome pitched in with €200 million. Fashion house LVMH matched the Bettencourt Family’s donation at €200 million as well. The company that controls brands like Louise Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy has even pledged to deploy their creative and financial teams available to help with the rebuilding process and soliciting donations.
LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault has described Notre Dame as a “symbol of French heritage and unity” and their donation is a show of “solidarity with this national tragedy”. The company hopes to see the funds help rebuild this “extraordinary cathedral”.
The three fashion dynasties’ pledge following the devastating fire had invoked patriotism among other companies as well. More French companies has since joined the pledge amounting to a the total of €700 million at the time of writing.