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Kering furthers female empowerment with Festival de Cannes program

March 31, 2015

Promotional image for Women in Motion Promotional image for Women in Motion


French luxury conglomerate Kering is exploring women’s contributions to film through a new initiative at the Festival de Cannes.

“Women in Motion” consists of talks in which attendees will delve into the role of females within cinema and establishes new awards to be given out during the festival to honor those championing women in film. Kering has had a longstanding relationship to female causes as well as the arts, particularly the film community, so this program brings together both of its brand values.

"The Cannes Festival already draws extensive media attention with many celebrities and today's icons, all adorned in luxury and fashion," said Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant of Driscoll Advisors, New York. "A perfect time to launch an effort elevating women.

"[Kering is communicating] that women are integral to the creative process in all aspects of film, and a greater recognition of their contribution is overdue."

Ms. Driscoll is not affiliated with Kering, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Kering was unable to comment directly.

Artistic approach
Kering is furthering its ties to the film world by being an official partner of the Cannes International Film Festival for the next five years. Through this partnership, individual fashion and apparel brands can themselves become partners of the event and gain press awareness.

The Women in Motion talks will be held as morning sessions, enabling attendees who are both media and industry professionals to create a dialogue. These will cover women’s status in filmmaking as well as their creative lenses and points of view as directors and writers.

Thierry Frémaux, general delegate of the Cannes International Film Festival, will be one of the guests at the first session.

Closer to the festival, an agenda will be publicized. This year, the festival runs May 13-24.

As the festival attempts to modernize its image, this Women in Motion series will help it achieve a more progressive schedule.

Animated posted for the 68th Annual Festival de Cannes

In addition to the talks, Kering will begin giving out Women in Motion awards in 2016.

One will be awarded to an individual who promotes the values Women in Motion stands for, such as diversity.

The other is reserved for a young female filmmaker, who will get funding for one of her film projects. This is designed to bring women in the art form more awareness and recognition in the film community.

On May 17, during a dinner hosted by Cannes International Film Festival president Pierre Lescure, Mr. Frémaux and Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault, Kering will present a Special Award to commemorate the launch of Women in Motion.

In a brand statement, Mr. Lescure said, “With ‘Women in Motion, we are opening another chapter in the history of the Festival de Cannes and are paving the way for the cinema of tomorrow, enriched by a greater variety of points of view and by the diversity of films. This initiative perfectly corresponds to the new momentum we wish to give the competition: by exchanging views, supporting talent and honouring key figures and significant works, it reflects the values of beauty, progress and artistic and social ambition that have underpinned the Festival since its creation.”

Brave Miss World poster

Kering has supported a number of film projects with a message, such as Brave Miss World

Shared values
Technology and art are natural partners of luxury brands, but these partnerships are most effective when the parties stay true to themselves, said Mr. Pinault at The New York Times International Luxury Conference Dec. 2.

Technology should help rather than hinder craftsmanship, and art and fashion need to hold onto their individual visions as they enter into partnerships. Most importantly, luxury needs to hold onto its branding as it partners with other entities (see story).

Particular Kering houses have strong ties to the cinema.

Gucci continued its film restoration project with The Film Foundation and Warner Bros. Entertainment that showcases the brand’s appreciation for and support of cinematic arts.

Facilitating the restoration of director Nicholas Ray’s film “Rebel Without a Cause” allowed the brand to show its enthusiasts a side not based in fashion (see story).

The conglomerate also champions women’s causes through its Kering Foundation.

Recently, Kering’s corporate foundation is extending the impact of its female-focused efforts with a new charter between the company’s United Kingdom brands and non-governmental agency Women’s Aid.

Through the “Charter to combat and prevent domestic violence,” the 1,260 Kering employees based in the U.K. will receive training from Women’s Aid for two years and internal policies will be established. This allows the Kering Foundation to get the company’s employees actively involved in its cause, creating ambassadors who will help to spread awareness for the issue (see story).

Through its Cannes placement, Kering will be able to expand on its previous efforts.

"This is a great opportunity for Kering to enhance its already meaningful support of women, their achievements and empowerment," Ms. Driscoll said.

Final Take
Sarah Jones, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York