For about 15 minutes last night, a city block smack-dab in the middle of 5th Avenue in Midtown was closed; honks could be heard from drivers wondering what the hold-up was. They (along with most everyone else) had no idea that very soon, former First Lady Michelle Obama would appear and kick off the 2021 holiday festivities at Saks Fifth Avenue.
At 7:00 pm last night, a select group of guests sat in bleachers opposite the 5th Avenue retail institution, cozy in cashmere blankets. (There were plenty of passersby and fans lining the barricades too.) All were there to witness the Saks light show, which spans ten stories and was dedicated this year to the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance.
Kicking off the evening was Marc Metrick, CEO of Saks. “It’s so great to be here with our family, friends, and our partners after such a challenging time,” he told his audience, “because at Saks, we consider these holiday windows and the light show as our gift to New York City. Not just for those who live here but for those visitors from near and far throughout the holiday season.” Metrick went on to reveal that Saks had donated a whopping $1 million to the Girls Opportunity Alliance—and there to share further details about the organization was Mrs. Obama herself.
The FLOTUS was dressed in a matching black pant-and-coat set that shimmered with tiny silver metallic flecks. She spoke of the work done by Girls Opportunity Alliance to empower young women around the world, and its strategic partnerships with other nonprofits to provide computers to students in India or to train young girls with disabilities in robotics and coding in Kenya. Obama was on hand to press the magic button that initiated the light show, but helping her were three young women, Dreshta Bohria, Jada Yelverton-Graves, and Caitlin James, all of Girls, Inc., another incredible organization.
“Back when our family was in the White House, I got to do a lot of traveling, and I got to meet a lot of really important people—kings and queens, and other presidents, and first ladies—but I also met thousands of young people like Jada, Dreshta, and Caitlin, promising young girls from right here in New York City,” said Obama. “I met these amazing young women just a few minutes ago. And in that short period of time, let me tell you, they blew me away.”
Just before the four women set off the 700,000 programmed LED lights (accompanied by a performance by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City), Obama reminded everyone of the event’s additional fundraising opportunities. This year, Saks has a special assortment of ready-to-wear, accessories, home, and beauty items from designers like Bond No. 9, Brandon Blackwood, Christopher John Rogers, Fear of God, Jason Wu, NEST New York, Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Lim, Posh Peanut, and Sergio Hudson, and more. 100% of this collection’s net proceeds will be donated to The Obama Foundation in support of the Girls Opportunity Alliance.
“So if you’re buying something from this collection over the next few weeks, you’ll not just be scratching something off your to-do list, but you’re also going to have the opportunity to help secure a brighter future for girls all around the world,” she said. “And what a powerful way to embrace the holiday spirit. Isn’t it?”
Shop the collection, here.