The auction was organized by and benefited the Small Steps Project, a charity that creates documentary films to raise awareness of children living and scavenging in municipal garbage dumps around the world.
In 2009, Small Steps founder Amy Hanson left her job as an entertainment reporter at the Daily Mail’s “Mail on Sunday” to start the charity. She said the Celebrity Shoe Auction, which also included a reception, photography exhibition and documentary premiere, drew 350 attendees. “We were expecting about 150 people, so it was amazing,” Hanson said. She added that shoe purchases plus donations totaled $19,000 for the evening.
Twelve pairs were auctioned at Wednesday’s event, and Hanson said other shoes, including a pair from Keira Knightley, are still coming in for online bidding that will take place on eBay starting on Sunday. More than 60 celebrities have donated footwear to date, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Ben Stiller, Bill Murray, Helen Mirren, Will Ferrell, Colin Firth and Sienna Miller.
“We didn’t do any PR or marketing, so [the response] was incredible,” Hanson said. She added that, to get the ball rolling, she simply reached out to a few prominent names she knew from her journalism career. “I didn’t expect to get as many famous people. They all started giving their shoes, and [shoes] from so many A-list Hollywood stars just came flying in.”
The second-largest sum at the auction was a tie: Beat-up hiking boots from London-based actor, author and musician Bill Oddie and Bellesco loafers from Richard Wilson each garnered $550. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Christian Louboutins were sold for $390.
Hanson said Small Steps plans to make the Celebrity Shoe Auction an annual event. “Because celebrities gave us their second-hand shoes, we’ll be able to fund a whole charity and a project that provides thousands of pairs of shoes for children in need,” she added. “It shows the power of celebrity and how it can change lives.”