Rafi Anteby made more than a fashion statement Friday night with his socially-conscious Bullets 4 Peace show at the Eden Roc, introducing his jewelry line for ROCK Fashion Week while simultaneously raising awareness about the dangers and lasting effects of war and the weapons that perpetuate its destruction.
“I was a soldier in Israel and I lost my whole platoon,” said the Israeli-born ex-army officer and martial arts champion, “and then about two years ago my best friend died. He got shot 18 times in Africa. I woke up in the middle of the night and felt that there was some kind of a statement that needed to be made to make sure that people can’t be so easy with the trigger or get the firearms out there. I thought to work with bullets with all kinds of artwork. I woke up in the morning and sent a picture to my mom and asked her what she thought and she said I think you should call it Bullets 4 Peace.”
The awe-inspiring show, which took place on the one-year anniversary of its creation, began with a flame-wielding dancer in an Egyptian-themed costume, followed by a dramatic interpretation of war while Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” video played on large screens in the background. With army-fatigued, animal-inspired costumed and body-painted women at the forefront, the story progressed to show skeleton-clad dancers and an angel dancing with massive wings on ballet pointe shoes, a metaphor for the devastation war inflicts on both the environment and the human race.
The introduction transitioned into the debut of his line to Edwin Starr’s “War”, affirming Anteby’s passionate position: War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Anteby creatively had each model intricately body-painted (complements of Mehron) to match the theme of the bullet they wore with a corresponding song playing as they worked the runway, showcasing such bullet designs as the Adam & Eve, Fleurty, Horse, Peaceful Lion, Butterfly, Lotus, Peaceful Panther, Rose Heart, Scorpion, Skull, Koi, Woodstock, Eagle and Hamsa, the Middle-Eastern and North African symbol meant to be a defense against the evil eye.
In addition to serving as fashionable pieces of jewelry worn by the likes of such celebrities as Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Gloria Estefan, Jaime Foxx, Snoop Dogg and Eva Longoria, the line aims to benefit his Reloading Life Foundation, which includes 12 bullets of 12 different designs with proceeds donated to 12 charities each year, including the launch of his Every Bullet Has a Target program. The program is designed to help create awareness and raise money for various charitable organizations by pairing individual celebrities with jewelry pieces. The kickoff show is scheduled to take place during the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami with the last show taking place symbolically on World Peace Day in New York.
Prior to the start of the show, Anteby raffled off his “Free Spirit” bullet, a black diamond-encrusted design valued at $10,000. The winner of the raffle was allowed to donate one year’s worth of the proceeds from that design to a charity of their choice, an honor bestowed upon Wired Editor Michelle Gaber, who chose the Aqua Foundation for Women.
“I have two programs, one to remove all the guns from the streets and attach ourselves to all the gifts for guns programs, so we are in discussions right now with a lot of cities,” said Anteby. “The other one is to create peace camps where I take kids from both sides of the enemy, so to speak, like Palestinians and Israelis, and have them build parks together. Maybe if, as kids, they play together, they will think twice before they pick up a gun later in their life against each other.”
So how did Anteby make such an ambitious goal a reality? “For those that are starting and trying to do something, it’s all about believing. It’s like water in a cup. You have to empty the water before the water comes. You have to understand, my whole concept is giving before receiving. A lot of money is going to go out. We’re going to help a lot of charities before you see any cents in your pocket, which we’re still doing. That’s the concept and if you follow it, you’re with me, if not I’ll do it by myself. You first give, and then you receive. It doesn’t work the other way around.”