Watch: Dua Lipa Performance Videos at UNICEF St. Barth Gala 2021 - Rolling Stone
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Watch: Dua Lipa Celebrates the New Year With Performance at Charity Gala in St. Barth

The intimate gala was an invite-only affair that raised more than 4 million euros for the United Nations Children’s Fund

BAIE DE SAINT JEAN, SAINT BARTHELEMY - DECEMBER 29: Dua Lipa performs onstage at the LuisaViaRoma for Unicef Party at Eden Rock on December 29, 2021 in St Barths. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma)BAIE DE SAINT JEAN, SAINT BARTHELEMY - DECEMBER 29: Dua Lipa performs onstage at the LuisaViaRoma for Unicef Party at Eden Rock on December 29, 2021 in St Barths. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma)

Dua Lipa performs onstage at the LuisaViaRoma for Unicef Party at Eden Rock on December 29, 2021 in St Barths.

Getty Images for LuisaViaRoma

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Dua Lipa helped to ring in the New Year early this week with a special performance at the LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF Gala in St. Barth.

Wednesday’s intimate affair, held beachside at the iconic Eden Rock Resort, brought together a room of celebrities, philanthropists and activists, with proceeds from ticket sales and a live auction going to support UNICEF’s work in providing resources to children across the globe.

Lipa, who mingled with guests and was spotted enjoying dinner seated near attendees like Leonardo DiCaprio (dutifully masked up between bites), DJ Bob Sinclar, and Cuba Gooding Jr., took to the stage around midnight local time to perform an energetic 25-minute set of her most popular songs.

Wearing a sparkling bustier top and flowing lime green pants, the singer opened with fan-favorite “Physical,” off her second studio album, Future Nostalgia, and ran through a tightly-choreographed set that also included hits like “New Rules” and “Don’t Start Now.”

While Lipa’s Elton John duet, “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” is currently storming the charts, fans hoping to hear the track — and guests buzzing about a potential John appearance — were left disappointed, as the singer omitted the song from her setlist entirely. Still, she closed with a crowd pleaser, performing an extended version of “Levitating” — Billboard’s Hot 100 Song of the Year — flanked by her backup dancers and a room full of guests on their feet (DaBaby’s rap verse on the track was replaced by a dance break, natch).

Lipa’s performance followed a night of inspirational speeches and videos about the work that UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) has been doing around the world for years. The organization is now active in more than 190 countries and territories, supporting everything from development work to child safety.

This wasn’t Lipa’s first-time showing her support for UNICEF either. The singer went with the organization to visit Syrian refugees in Lebanon back in 2019 to support UNICEF’s efforts in the region. She’s also been a vocal supporter of World Children’s Day, one of the biggest initiatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The St. Barth event was the fifth edition of the LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF Gala, which launched with an inaugural party in Italy in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, in 2018. While previous events have featured performers like John Legend, Ricky Martin and Katy Perry, the luxury e-tailer’s CEO Andrea Panconesi says Lipa’s spirit and sense of community made her the perfect person to feature this time around.

“She’s young and she’s special, and she represents individuality and awareness,” Panconesi says. “I met her in Paris a couple of months ago and we talked about doing something for UNICEF and she was enthusiastic about the idea. Of course,” he adds, “my children love music and are big fans, so they were happy to see her too.”

Panconesi heralds Lipa as an inspiration to a new generation of change-makers. “All the saints in history have said, ‘By doing good to others, you do good to yourself,’ but I really believe the young generation is much more aware of this than I was when I was young,” he says. “It comes naturally to them, whether it’s about supporting one company over another company, buying a bag that’s good for the environment, or coming here to raise money for the children; they make you feel positive about the future.”

LuisaViaRoma says the St. Barth event helped to raise more than 4 million euros, thanks to sponsors and a Sotheby’s live auction that offered up everything from Elvis Presley’s Harley Davidson to signed guitars from Queen’s Brian May and Chic’s Nile Rodgers. A Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT, meantime, went for nearly $400,000 euros.

While LuisaViaRoma is known for its highly-curated selection of luxury apparel, accessories and home goods online, Panconesi says events like the UNICEF gala are simply an extension of the company’s ethos to bring people together. “Music sort of crosses borders and cultures just like fashion and art,” he says. “I see [events like this] almost as ‘international relations,’ because everybody speaks the same language of music, no matter who you are. With music and fashion,” he says, “everything is international; everything is connected.”

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