In honor of International Women’s Day, Etienne Aigner is unveiling a partnership to raise funds for the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, Metro NY Chapter. To kick off this collaboration, we spoke with Allison Luvera, Vice President of the Board of Directors and veteran luxury marketing professional.
Etienne Aigner is donating 10% of all proceeds during the month of March to the USNC-UN Women Metro NY Chapter. You can get involved, too. If you’re inspired to volunteer yourself, visit their website to learn more.
Hi Allison, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To start off, can you tell us a little bit about your work?
AL: Love to! I’m currently serving a two-year term as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, Metro NY Chapter. It’s an incredible organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for UN Women, which benefit programs in 100 countries worldwide. It’s an all-volunteer organization though, so on the professional side I work in the luxury industry with a focus on fashion, wine, and spirits. With over a decade of experience at iconic brands such as Vogue, InStyle, and Perrier-Jouët under my belt, I’ve just recently launched a consulting firm that specializes in luxury brand management.
That’s impressive – an entrepreneur and a philanthropist! Tell us a bit more about the mission of USNC-UN Women Metro NY.
AL: In short, our organization’s goal is to support UN Women locally to improve the lives of women and girls globally. We focus on advocacy, educational events, and fundraising in the New York City area. All the money we raise contributes directly to UN Women programs that focus on critical issues like violence against women, political participation and leadership, and economic empowerment. The organization is composed of a group of passionate volunteers from all walks of life, who work tirelessly to further the women’s rights agenda.
Do you ever get to go to the United Nations?
AL: Yes! Our proximity to the UN has allowed our membership to have access to key meetings and high-level panels, such as during the Commission on the Status of Women that takes place each March. A highlight for me was hearing the Prime Minister of Iceland, Bjarni Benediktsson, speak on International Women’s Day last year. It’s beyond inspiring (and necessary) to see men stand together with women in the fight for gender parity. In fact, UN Women has an entire movement dedicated to this called HeForShe.
That’s really cool. So what motivated you to get involved?
AL: Simply put, I want to leave the world a better place than I found it, and pave the way for the next generation of women. When I think about my niece, for example, I don’t want her to grow up and be faced with the same gender bias, misogyny, and obstacles to success that have become normalized for women today. I don’t want her to grow up being paid less money for equal work, and knowing that, although people deny its existence, a glass ceiling exists. Not to mention the fact that women in certain areas of the world are still denied basic human rights. We definitely live in tumultuous times, and on the world stage we see alarming things happening every day to women. It makes me angry, and I think the best way to cope with that anger is to be solution-oriented, or as some say, to “be the change we want to see” in our local communities.
As a woman who has achieved success in the business world, what is your view on female economic empowerment?
AL: The data says it all. When more women work, economies grow. There is a lot of research out there that shows massive economic upside to having equal representation of females in both the private sector and the government. Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. It’s often said that “if you can see it, you can be it”, and so the more successful women we see in positions of power, the more normalized and achievable that will seem.
How do you use style to project authority and leadership?
AL: I think confidence is the greatest tool you can have as a woman in business, and for me, personal style contributes greatly to this. Since I’m tall, jumpsuits and mid-length dresses are silhouettes that really flatter my body type. I generally stick to classic colors and prints, but always add a feminine touch like a ruffle hem or delicate gold jewelry. Comfort is important when I’m on-the-go all day, so I love a low, block heel that’s easy to walk in, but still adds sophistication to my look. Etienne Aigner’s Negroni shoe and Lanai shoe are both great picks that take me from day to night with ease, and the superior leather craftsmanship elevates anything I’m wearing.
What’s your one must-have fashion item for the workplace?
AL: A chic, carry-all tote is an absolute staple for me. Most days I’m running from back-to-back meetings, to after-work cocktails, to client dinners and various industry events – all without stopping! I need a stylish bag that’s big enough to hold a laptop, extra pair of shoes, makeup, and more. The Irena Tote is the perfect solution for this. The shape and color are timeless, and the double-woven lambskin leather gives it a luxurious texture that I love.
Who are your female fashion icons or inspirations?
AL: There are a lot of strong female figures today that have incredible style, like former First Lady Michelle Obama and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. But, I’m going to have to choose a fictional female as my top fashion icon. Rene Russo’s character in The Thomas Crowne Affair is the ultimate girl boss, and her wardrobe is everything! Whether she’s rocking a suede trench to the heliport, a menswear-inspired bustier at the office, or a semi-sheer gown to a charity ball, she embodies confidence and strength, inside and out. The character is so sophisticated and empowered, and her style reinforces and accentuates that. My ultimate girl crush!
Shop the blog and support women and girls worldwide!