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Holt Renfrew celebrates Knot On My Planet in support of elephant conservation, Toronto

On Sept. 4 in Toronto, Holt Renfrew lured party-goers to a downtown photography studio for a cocktail party to celebrate the latest collaboration-for-a-cause between Holt Renfrew’s H Project, Knot On My Planet and Kotn, all in support of the Elephant Crisis Fund.

The studio was turned into a gallery of sorts for the night, with sculptural reinterpretations of elephants by a handful of Canadian artists. The work of Jason Botkin of En Masse project, a Montreal-based collaborative drawing project, took up a large wall and was emblazoned with calls to action such as “Stop Ivory Trade Now” and “Protect Not Poach.” Nearby was a work that resembled elephant ears by folding artist Pauline Loctin and across from it was a rather haunting magnified tusk made of lumber by Nicole Charles, which called to mind the carcasses of the more than 30,000 elephants which are poached each year. Outside in the garden, a fantastic elephant made of more than 2,000 feet of rope by photographer and visual artist Briony Douglas watched over guests.

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Alexandra Weston, Holt Renfrew’s director of brand and creative strategy, was on hosting duties and introduced the evening’s special guest, Doutzen Kroes. The Dutch supermodel is the face of #knotonmyplanet, a digital media-born initiative that raises funds through various collaborations (namely fashion ones) for the Elephant Crisis Fund, which works to eradicate elephant poaching for ivory. Weston noted in her remarks that the H Project initiative has raised more that $250,000 since 2018, funds that have directly supported elephant conservation and awareness. To the shock of many, she also noted that Canada still legally permits elephant trophies to be imported and has yet to ban the trade of ivory (from elephants killed before 1990) and urged guests to sign an Ivory-Free Canada petition between cocktails.

Also on view at the party was this year’s collection of do-good goods. Socially conscious Canadian brand Kotn is behind this year’s wares, including t-shirts, socks and some soft cotton jumpers, which were embroidered by female artisans in Egypt with an elephant figure designed by artist Melody Hansen. Come October, a limited run of an elephant-shaped bag by Jonathan Anderson, creative director of Spanish brand Loewe, which is completely beaded by Samburu women from northern Kenya, will hit the shops. The collection is available online and across Canada at Holt Renfrew. As for fate of the elephant sculptures, a couple migrated uptown to the Bloor Street shop, standing guard during a weekend-long shopping event which also supported the cause.

Alex Lovsin, Briony Douglas, Danielle Levaseur.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

Doutzen Kroes and Alexandra Weston.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

Jen Saunders and Tamara Bahry.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

Ramón Charles and Joe Amio.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

Sylvia Mantella and Trish Goff.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

Tamara Mimran and David Lubotta.

ERNESTO DiSTEFANO/George Pimentel

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