amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Jennifer Lopez, Alan Cumming, Liza Minnelli, Uma Thurman, Iman, and Carly Rae Jepsen were among those who gathered at the Plaza last week to support amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, at the fourth annual Inspiration Gala New York.
Ms. Lopez and Mr. Cumming were honored at the black tie gala, along with Valentino Garavani, all for their exceptional humanitarian work and commitment to the fight against AIDS.
Ms. Lopez, the actress, singer, designer and philanthropist, was presented with amfAR’s Humanitarian Award by André Leon Talley, in recognition of her contributions to multiple humanitarian causes including Amnesty International, Children's Health Fund, City of Hope, March of Dimes, the GRAMMY Foundation and her work with her own Lopez Family Foundation. Ms. Lopez’s longtime friend Ricky Martin also sent a congratulatory video message. Upon receiving her award, Lopez said, “I was so inspired by the news that the first child had been cured of AIDS. That’s an amazing step, and I know that with amfAR’s help, researchers can soon find a way to deliver a cure to the 300,000 children who so desperately need it.”
amfAR Ambassador Liza Minnelli, a longtime dedicated supporter of the Foundation, presented her friend Alan Cumming with amfAR’s Award of Courage. Mr. Cumming has actively supported amfAR’s lifesaving AIDS research programs for more than a decade, hosting and performing at countless fundraising events for amfAR, and he has been one of the leading voices tirelessly speaking out on behalf of people living with AIDS.
Iman accepted the amfAR Award of Inspiration on behalf of Valentino, praising his impeccable sense of style, as well as his commitment to raising funds to combat AIDS throughout his career. She said, “Valentino is kind, passionate, and generous, qualities that have laid the groundwork for his lifetime commitment to fashion, the arts, and the reason we are here tonight, the fight against AIDS.”
A highlight of the Inspiration Gala was an energetic performance by multi-platinum, Grammy nominated pop sensation Carly Rae Jepsen. The entire crowd danced under a shower of confetti to the Canadian singer/songwriter’s hits “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” and “Call Me Maybe.”
Uma Thurman opened the event’s program and introduced amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, who spoke about the great strides that have been made towards curing AIDS just within the past year, through amfAR’s work.
The men’s style event, produced by Josh Wood Productions, featured a runway show, thematically styled with camouflage and military tailoring, featuring looks donated by the world’s leading menswear designers, including Carolina Amato, Ted Baker, Band of Outsiders, John Bartlett, Michael Bastian, The Blonds, Hugo Boss, Thom Browne, Richard Chai, Kenneth Cole, The Elder Statesman, Patrick Ervell, Asaf Ganot, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Michael Hockey, Iceberg, Isaia, Marc Jacobs, Robert James, Kenzo, Calvin Klein Collection, Michael Kors, Lanvin, Ralph Lauren, Asher Levine, Moo Shoes, Noir, Rodrigo Otazu, Rick Owens, Alexandre Plokhov, Billy Reid, Sand, Shipley & Halmos, Skingraft, Social Primer, John Varvatos, Ian Velardi, Bottega Veneta, and Y-3.
The event also featured live and silent auctions. In a highlight of the live auction, Jennifer Lopez created an impromptu lot by offering a chance to accompany her when she receives her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as a red carpet date with her any time in the next year. Delta Air Lines generously offered to fly the winning bidder first class to wherever the date takes place. A bidding war broke out among the crowd, and once two bidders got to $90,000, Ms. Lopez offered to double the package, raising a total of $180,000.
Inspiration events have raised more than $10 million to date for amfAR, and have also been held in Los Angeles, São Paulo, and Miami. The series has seen performances by such legendary artists as Katy Perry, Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, Jennifer Hudson, Scissor Sisters, Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love, and Sinéad O’Connor. Past recipients of the Award of Inspiration have included James Franco, Kevin Huvane, Francisco Costa, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Fergie, Michael Kors, Ricky Martin, and Robert Duffy/Marc Jacobs International.