In between “Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s double Golden Globe wins Sunday night (she took home one piece of mantle hardware for lead actress and a second for comedy series), she announced backstage that the memorable (and on-trend) couture Ralph & Russo tuxedo she was wearing for her big night was going to be deployed to fight a big problem — the wildfires devastating the Australian continent.
“We’ve hatched an amazing plan with Ralph & Russo, our Australian designers, who made this incredible couture suit, which is the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever worn,” she said. " And we’re going to auction it, and the money that is raised from it will go toward relief in Australia. I’m really excited to be part of that.”
At 4 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, that plan took wing as the charity auction got underway on the eBay Australia website, where the tailored black Chantilly lace suit will be up for bid for exactly 10 days.
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We are honoured to be supporting two-time Golden Globe winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge of @bbcfleabag and Ralph & Russo’s charity auction to raise funds for the Australian bushfire relief. Worn at this year’s Golden Globes, the couture tuxedo from @ralphandrusso is up for auction on eBay. Proceeds are going to @wireswildliferescue, @redcrossau and @wildlifevictoria. We give thanks to everyone who has donated to the relief and recovery efforts so far. The response across the globe has been extraordinary. Open internationally and for serious bidders only. Link in bio. Swipe to watch a personal message from Phoebe. Image credit: @owarvega #bushfirerelief #bushfiresaustralia #dressforaus
According to the auction announcement, the made-to-measure tux from the Ralph & Russo fall and winter 2019 couture collection is closest to a U.S. size 10 and details include a silk duchess lapel and geometric black and gold ribbon appliqué. It also comes with a couple of things you wouldn’t have seen when Waller-Bridge took the stage on Sunday — her autograph (she signed the suit) and additional fabric (in the event the winning bidder wishes to make any modifications).
Although the label and the actress are based in the United Kingdom, Ralph & Russo’s namesakes — creative director Tamara Ralph and Chief Executive Officer Michael Russo — hail from the land down under.
“Being both from Australia originally and with much of our family still residents across the region, it is with a heavy heart that we watch and hear the news of the terrible fires currently engulfing such large areas of our homeland,” the two said in announcing the auction. “With Australia remaining so close to our hearts, we are delighted to stand next to Phoebe to support relief efforts with this special auction.”
In a comment accompanying the auction announcement, Waller-Bridge sold the rarity of the opportunity to purchase the suit in her signature style. “To add to its allure,” she said, “I spent most of the night brushing it past and rubbing it up against all the sparkly people I could find. These threads are laced with legends!”
The opening bid is $AU 77,000 (approximately $52,800 at current exchange rates) and includes global shipping and insurance fees, and all prospective bidders are required to register for pre-approval. Proceeds from the winning bid will be equally divided among three charities: the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, the WIRES Wildlife Rescue Emergency Fund and Wildlife Victoria.
Waller-Bridge’s decision to auction her Golden Globes tuxedo isn’t the only effort currently underway to fight fire with fashion.
Also on Thursday, luxury label Balenciaga announced that Monday it would release on balenciaga.com a unisex T-shirt and a hoodie featuring an image of a koala, and 100% of the proceeds would be donated to a local conservation organization selected by its sustainability experts in coordination with parent company Kering Group.
The luxury conglomerate had announced Wednesday that its stable of brands, which includes Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Pomellato and Alexander McQueen among others, have banded together to make a joint donation of $1 million Australian dollars that would be earmarked for local conservation organizations.