"Inspiration” AmfAR: Fashion Week Meets the Grammys

by Eats & Beats
06.16.2010

The American Foundation for Aids Research is a nonprofit organization devoted to ending the global AIDS epidemic, a cause that I am proud to support in any way I can. I recently attended a fundraising dinner organized by AmfAR called “Inspiration” which was just that: inspiring. When you have honorees like pop star Ricky Martin and world-class designer Jean Paul Gaultier, a hostess with the mostess, Kylie Minogue, and star-studded performances by artists like Estelle and Cyndi Lauper, how could you not feel inspired? The amount of talent and creativity in one room was overwhelming.

First let’s start with the venue. The New York City Public Library is perhaps the most beautiful and ornate building in the entire city. As I climbed the grand staircase, I knew immediately that I was going somewhere important. Inside, soaring ceilings and gigantic columns made me feel as though something much bigger and more important than me was taking place. At least 1,000 of New York’s most fashionable men and women gathered to celebrate the progress being made in the war against AIDS and pledge even more support towards finding a cure. To encourage their generosity, a fabulous show was produced for the donor’s entertainment.

What made this event different from all others was the willingness of the honored stars to talk and take pictures with the guests, without the usual ring of intimidating bodyguards. There really was a mutual feeling that the donors loved the stars and the stars loved the donors. Besides getting to hobnob with Ricky Martin, Jean Paul Gautier and Kylie Minogue, guests got to hear Cyndi Lauper put on an incredible mini-concert.

Before the auction, dinner, and amazing DJ set, I witnessed the coolest runway show I have ever seen in New York. Instead of a typical elevated stage runway, they used a hallway of the New York City Public Library, which was the length of an entire city block. This “super-runway” appeared to be never-ending and all 1000 guests (500 on each side) had front-row seats. This made every person watching the fashion show feel like an A-list celebrity. What a wonderful way to make the guests feel special and to get them in the mood for an extraordinary auction and dinner.

The choice of Simon Doonan as auctioneer was perfect. He was 10 times funnier than anyone from Christy’s or Sotheby’s could ever be, which made the auction fun and kept it moving along smoothly. We all knew that Simon Doonan was the most talented window-dresser in the world, but who knew that he was the funniest auctioneer on the planet. Two crowns for Simon. Three cheers for amfAR.

 

Photos (from top to bottom): 1) Sir Ivan, Kylie Minogue & Mina 2) Ricky Martin, Mina & Sir Ivan 3) Sir Ivan & Mina

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