Lauren Bush watching health worker with FEED Health backpack in action. Photos by RCruger
Designer Kenneth Cole threw a party with Planet Green and Vanity Fair in LA last night to launch the latest FEED bag by UN World Food Program spokesperson Lauren Bush. A stream of Hollywood's hot actors showed up for the cause, even parking their own hybrids in the neighborhood when cops yanked the valet off the street. Lauren's new FEED Health backpack is similar to other bags in her collection, with a couple significant changes.
With each purchase of a FEED Health backpack, another identical bag is filled with medical supplies for community health workers through Millennium Villages, an organization to improve people's lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. The backpacks hold malaria and HIV/AIDs medications, birth control, and first aid items, even scales to weigh malnourished babies. The backpack is exclusively available at Kenneth Cole stores and online through its AWEARness campaign—behind issues from the environment to partnering with FEED to "Send Poverty Packing."
"It's our guy bag," notes Lauren unbuckling the strap in a few fast moves. "Plus it converts to a messenger bag or overnight bag." Lauren, co-founder/CEO of FEED Projects, and partner Ellen Gustafson, co-founder/President FEED Foundation, create products that help the world. Through the UN World Food Program other FEED bags, including burlap totes, make-up kits and reusuable grocery carryalls provide nourishment to the 150 million hungry children in the world. The six-pocket backpack with laptop padding is made of recycled plastic.
Vanessa Lengies (TNT's HawthoRNe) dressed head-to-toe in Kenneth Cole.
On hand to support the effort and sip eco-friendly VeeV acai infused vodka cocktails, were Ryan Kwantan (True Blood), Madeline Zima (Californication), 90210's Shenae Grimes, Dancing with the Stars' finalist Melissa Rycroft, Ethan Erickson (Melrose Place), and Ali Larter (Heroes). Actress Vanessa Lengies said, "This is like a great house party. Plus it's for a wonderful cause."
The house, a LivingHomes prefab multilevel house, was the first in the US to receive LEED status. Guests Ed Begley, Jr. and wife Rachelle (Planet Green's Living With Ed) sang its praises: It went up in eight hours, there's a cistern that harvests rainwater and a green roof with drought-tolerant plants, a tomato garden, and panoramic views. Rachelle hinted, "We'll trade homes for a weekend!"
Ed Begley Jr's daughter's faves, popstars AJ & Ali, are fans of FEED.
Actress Krysten Ritter of Breaking Bad noticed an extra button for the low-flow toilet. She gleefully admitted, "I love recycling. I'm really passionate about it. I like discovering stuff in my waste baskets—and other people's, too—that I can recycle." This successful mash-up brought environmental causes and social activism together with Hollywood and the fashion worlds.
The flatscreen on the FSC wood paneled wall showed a video of Lauren traveling through Africa as The Bee Gees wailed "Staying Alive." As guests exited, they were given a swag bag which included Kenneth Cole's AWEARness book with essays about "making a difference" by RFK, Jr., Ludacris, Robert Redford, President Clinton, Don Cheadle—and Lauren and Ellen—tucked inside a FEED 100 bag which matches each purchase by funding 100 school meals to children in Rwanda).
Impressively, a line of celebs and guests clamored to purchase the FEED Health backpacks in stylish black and green. "There's also a khaki one," said Lauren Bush, suggesting, "get both versions to match your hiking boots!"