Caroline Barrett-Haigh gives us an inside look at the Stella X Smart Works Fashion Auction in association with Christie’s

Here at Smart Works, we are proud to work with partners who share our passion for empowering women.   

Our media partner, Stella magazine, is one such partner. Stella continues to demonstrate a belief in Smart Works and our clients, firmly championing our work.    

Out of a difficult six months for everyone, this shared passion and determination led to the launch of the first ever Stella X Smart Works Fashion Auction in association with Christie’s. With 100% proceeds coming to Smart Works, this initiative will raise important funds to help support unemployed women in need. 

As the auction enters its final few days, we asked Stella Editor, Caroline Barrett-Haigh to share some of her thoughts about the activity and what it means to work with Smart Works.   

Can you tell us a bit about what inspired this auction?  

“I really love this story: The idea came after the Stella team visited the Smart Works office for a catch up coffee. A couple of days earlier you’d received a surprise visit from the actor Michelle Dockery, who had donated the most wonderful collection of designer clothes from her own wardrobe. It got us all thinking how fabulous it would be if we could give them the ‘show’ they deserved and also ask other high-profile celebrities to get involved too. And so the Smart Works x Stella auction was born…”

What have you found most exciting about the project so far?  

“Honestly, the whole event has been brilliant to work on. I’m not going to lie, there were moments when it was incredibly stressful, especially at the start. By this point we were in total lockdown so we couldn’t just pop a date in the diary and all meet up. The whole auction was organised over Zoom which meant three teams (Stella, Smart Works and Christie’s) – many of whom had never met before – coming together once a week to pull it together. We’ve all supported each other and shared our contacts and the whole process has been hugely rewarding.”

What are your personal stand-out pieces from the auction and why?   

“There are some absolutely beautiful items. Of course Jane Birkin’s bag is incredibly special as it’s not only from her but she agreed to sign it and share a special video which I don’t think has ever happened before. For me, the items I love the most are the ones that represent a moment in time, like Samantha Cameron’s Number 10 dress and Victoria Beckham’s corsets – a bit of pop history.”

What would you like to say to the successful bidders?   

“A HUGE thank you. This isn’t just about owning an item from a high-profile celebrity, it’s also about supporting the fabulous cause. Smart Work’s CEO Kate Stephens always says, ‘Passing on a treasured possession to help another woman succeed is a powerful concept.’ I always think about this, and if you’re in the lucky position to be able to purchase one of these items it means you will change someone’s life.”

What is it that you love about partnering with and supporting Smart Works?  

“Oh gosh where to start. For us at Stella it’s an absolute privilege to be your media partner. Your work is so important and valuable. Never before have we needed to help more women get back into employment. This is a time of crisis and the charity not only offers practical advice, but also becomes a friend to the women who come through its door. Everyone needs that, especially at the moment.”

 If you want to find out more about the auction before it closes on the 15th September, head to the Christie’s website at christies.com/stellaxsmartworks.  There are 33 incredible lots, each an opportunity to play a part in another woman’s success story whilst also owning a piece of fashion history. 

Thank you to Caroline and the Stella team for their continued support and creative energy, this auction is another example of a wonderful partnership ensuring we can continue to support women in need.