The truth is that the actress, model and winner of the 2012 Miss USA competition will be draped in a bespoke gown designed by Marchesa co-founders Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig intended to draw awareness to the estimated 663 million people worldwide who lack access to safe water. The luxury womenswear brand, known for its ethereal and elegant aesthetic, has collaborated with Stella Artois and Water.org to forward their “Buy A Lady A Drink” campaign that will raise funds to provide nations such as Uganda, Brazil and Cambodia with clean drinking water.
“Since we were girls, designing beautiful clothing was our dream, and as mothers, we look for ways to support and uplift other women around the world,” said Chapman, co-founder of Marchesa in a press release. “With access to clean water, women are better able to pursue their passions, so we’re honored to join Stella Artois and Water.org in their campaign to end the global water crisis.”
Craig added that this campaign is exceptionally meaningful to their brand. “India is one country that is greatly affected by the global water crisis, and it’s also where much of our hand-beadwork is done,” she said. “We are proud to be able to work on a project that directly benefits a community that is so close to our hearts.”
The design of the gown is inspired by Stella Artois’ three new Limited-Edition Chalices that highlight three of the countries where Water.org provides support. For every Chalice sold, Stella Artois will assist Water.org in providing five years of clean water for one person in the developing world. In addition to replicating the shimmer, gold accents, and silhouette of the glassware, Marchesa will incorporate one-of-a-kind glass beads made from the Limited-Edition Chalices.
Before Culpo debuts the gown on E!’s Countdown to the Red Carpet on Sunday (1:30 p.m. EST), we had the chance to sit down and speak with her about her involvement in this philanthropic campaign. Launch the gallery at the top of the page to see photos of the gown.
Celebuzz: How did your role of Miss Universe increase your interest in and awareness of global crises in developing nations, such as the water crisis?
Olivia Culpo: I was so young when I became Miss Universe and it did really change my entire perspective on life because I was able to see different cultures, so many people around the world and their struggles, and really get an idea of how fortunate we are in the country. It helped me discover how easy it is to make a difference for other people. I think it’s just difficult for people to find out how to get involved.
The “Buy A Lady A Drink” campaign is such a great opportunity for me in this respect because, through this campaign, people can buy one $13 chalice, which will allow five years of clean drinking water for someone in a developing world. It’s all so simple and easy, and I think that through this collaboration with Marchesa, people will be inspired to buy the chalice and make the difference. I really want us to reach the goal and be able to make a difference in style.
CB: Were there any specific images from your early travels abroad with Miss Universe that stuck with you and still inspire you to keep pursuing philanthropic work such as this?
OC: I think that for me, as a woman, it’s always been really devastating to see how women around the world struggle in so many different ways. Seeing that was really heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time because of the differences that are being made and the new conversations that are finally being had.
Particularly with this campaign, a lot of the people who are suffering from the global water crisis are women because the women of the house have to get the water for the families. They have to travel really far in order to get everything for their families because that’s their job. They can’t go to school, they can’t get jobs, they can’t even do work in their home because their lives revolve around gathering the water. So by buying these chalices and making a difference with Water.org, we’re able to help women all over the world, and as a woman, it’s so rewarding to be a part of that.
CB: What was your first meeting with Georgina and Keren from Marchesa like as you sat down to design the gown?
OC: I’ve been a friend of Georgina for a while because I met her on Project Runway earlier this year and I’ve worn her designs so many times in the past, so being in the showroom was really exciting. I got to see a few of the materials that we’d be using for the dress and I got to talk about the inspiration behind the dress, which is going to be water. Another really exciting part of the dress, besides the fact that it will be water-inspired with a lot of fluidity and probably clear beading, is that the beads themselves will be made out of the material used to create the chalices. It will literally be a walking symbol of this incredible campaign.
CB: Would you ever consider designing your own conscious and/or charitable fashion line in the same vein of this collaboration with Marchesa and Stella Artois in the future ?
OC: Yeah, absolutely. That would be so ideal. Some of the most inspirational projects out there are the ones that give back. I can think of so many brands and start-ups who have done such a good job of adding that element of giving back, and that’s so important. I do hope that I can do that someday. I’m not sure exactly how, but I would love to gear something towards female empowerment because I feel like it’s so rewarding to see all the progress that’s being made. I want to focus on that.
CB: You have a lot of experience wearing very elegant gowns for long periods of time like you will at the Oscars on Sunday. Do you have any tips or style hacks that you can impart to normal people like us who are ready to call it quits after being dressed-up for a half hour?
OC: Mind over matter, for sure. I know what it feels like to be in a dress and be uncomfortable. Interestingly enough, I never feel that way because the dress is too tight or because I’m not wearing the right undergarment. It’s always because I don’t like it’s “me.” So my advice to anybody is to just like what you’re wearing, even if it’s not what everyone else wants you to wear. You have to feel good in your own skin, and that alone will give you endurance and make you look beautiful—hands down.
Another thing that I recommend is practicing your pose beforehand. Think about how are you going to take pictures in it. You want to feel good when you’re on the carpet. Practice sitting down, too, so you know where to put your legs and avoid that problem. You don’t want anything showing!
You can purchase one of the exclusive Limited-Edition Chalices for $13 through Amazon or BuyALadyADrink.com,. For every six or 12-bottle pack of Stella Artois sold in select retail stores, Stella Artois will help Water.org provide six or 12 months of clean water for one person in the developing world. Additionally, for every pint or bottle of beer sold in select bars and restaurants, Stella Artois will help Water.org provide one month of clean water for one person in the developing world.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.