French Film, Fashion Industries React to Notre Dame Fire, Donate for Reconstruction

Notre-Dame Cathedral - Damage of fire- April 16, 2019 -Getty-H 2019
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The City of Cannes will donate $11,000 and work with the famed film festival and Hollywood on further fundraising.

The French fashion industry has pledged 300 million euros ($339 million) to help rebuild Paris' Notre Dame, following a massive fire that devastated the ancient cathedral Monday night.

Francois-Henri Pinault, head of Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga parent company Kering, was the first to donate toward the reconstruction, offering 100 million euros ($112 million) to the project through his family investment company Artemis.

"This tragedy hits all the French people, and far beyond, who are attached to spiritual values. Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wants to give life back to this jewel of our heritage,” said Pinault, who is Salma Hayek's husband. 

LVMH group head Bernard Arnault followed suit, donating 200 million euros ($225 million). “The Arnault family and the LVMH group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are associated with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, a symbol of France, its heritage and its unity,” the company said in a statement.

The Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy owner added that it will also offer the time and muscle of its cultural heritage staff to the government. LVMH will “put at the disposal of the State and the concerned authorities all its teams, creative, architectural, and financial to help the long work of reconstruction on the one hand, and of the collection of funds on the other hand.”

The film industry will also back the reconstruction project, according to Cannes mayor David Lisnard. On Twitter, he wrote that the city would combine its efforts with the Cannes film festival and its head Thierry Fremaux to enlist Hollywood in the recovery efforts.

The city of Cannes, home to the famed film event, will donate 10,000 euros ($11,300) to the reconstruction fund as well as solicit donations through city hall.

“With @pierrelescure and teams @Festival_Cannes @villecannes we have planned to solicit the world of cinema, of which many international representatives are already in contact with Thierry fremaux to participate in the financing of the reconstruction of #NotreDamedeParis” he wrote.

For his part, journalist and TV executive Pierre Lescure tweeted a photo of Gina Lollobrigida dancing in front of the cathedral from the 1956 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

French film stars also quietly expressed their sadness and support. Marion Cotillard posted a photo of the church, writing: “I am overwhelmed with sorrow, Paris my love. Paris my earth in mourning. Our wonderful lady. I mourn your splendor.”

Lou Doillon, singer daughter of Jane Birkin and Rodin director Jacques Doillon, posted a video of herself sliding down the roof of the cathedral as a child in the 1980s, writing, “Hold on darling.”

Yves Saint Laurent director Jalil Lespert posted photos of the fire as it was unfolding, seemingly observing from a spot on the river nearby, writing simply: “No words. What a horror.” That sentiment was echoed by former CSI star Gary Dourdan, who now lives in Paris, who posted a photo of the church at night with a broken heart and prayer emoji and the hashtag #nowords.

X-Men star Omar Sy also expressed himself with an emoji of a broken heart, writing “What sadness,” while Juliette Binoche posted a close-up of a Cima da Conegliano painting depicting a broken heart in hand.

The Artist star Jean Dujardin looked toward the future, writing simply “To rebuild..."