The sixth annual amfAR Milano, held at La Permanente in conjunction with Milan Fashion Week, raised more than $1.4 million for the Foundation. Moncler Chairman and Creative Director Remo Ruffini was honored and the legendary Grace Jones gave a special live performance. The black-tie dinner and live auction was hosted with exceptional style and aplomb by longtime amfAR supporter, Heidi Klum.
Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani, who was honored by amfAR at last year’s gala, presented Ruffini with the Award of Courage in recognition of his outstanding personal commitment to the fight against AIDS, as well as his leadership in generating valuable corporate support of amfAR by the Moncler brand. Sozzani described Ruffini as a passionate and dedicated businessman who, “in spite of the dizzying heights to which he has risen, he has never lost sight of the importance of philanthropy.” Ruffini accepted the award to a roaring round of applause. Grace Jones capped off the evening and brought guests to their feet with an electrifying performance of La Vie en Rose and Pull up to the Bumper, followed by a hula-hooping rendition of Slave to the Rhythm.
Additional guests included Event Chairs Goga Ashkenazi, Jean-Christophe Babin, and Milutin Gatsby; as well as Bar Refaeli, Alessandra Ambrosio, Poppy Delevingne, Alexander Ludwig, Bella Thorne, Luke Ryan, Margherita Missoni, Teresa Missoni, Jessica Stam, Izabel Goulart, Toni Garrn, Ashley Madekwe, Gale Harold, Michelle Ryan, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Isabella Ferrari, Nieves Alvarez, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Francesco Cinquemani, Mauro Conte, Giorgia Sinicorni, Isabella Borromeo, HRH Princess of Venice Clotilde Courau and Alessandro Roja.
Highlights of the evening’s live auction, which was led by event producer Andy Boose, included:
· A one-of-a-kind piece by artist Damien Hirst was the hottest item of the evening, selling for €250,000. The piece, titledDL-Octopmaine (2010), was donated to amfAR from Hirst’s personal studio. Hirst has donated a number of works to amfAR auctions, including Gone but Not Forgotten (2014), a work made specially for amfAR’s Cinema Against Aids, 21. The gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth in a monolithic steel and glass vitrine sold at the event this past May for €11 million – a record for an amfAR auction.
· The stunning Bar Refaeli helped to auction off a piece by Robert Rauschenberg titled Soviet/American Array III (1990). After starting the lot at €10,000, a bidding war ensued that resulted in the piece selling for €110,000. Rauschenberg is a cherished friend and generous supporter of amfAR. He was awarded the Foundation’s first Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS in 2000.
· BVLGARI donated a beautiful yellow-gold watch that was auctioned off for €22,000. The watch, from the iconic Bulgari-Bulgari line, was recently worn by Matthew McConaughey at the 2014 Emmy Awards. Actor Gale Harold and Bella Thorne auctioned off the piece during the event. The triumphant bidder also took home an autographed picture of McConaughey wearing the luxury timepiece.
· Rosario Dawson wrapped up the auction by dancing on to the stage before announcing a surprise item– a promotional poster of Grace Jones’ “Nightclubbing” album from 1981. The image by Jean-Paul Goude presents Jones in masculine attire, wearing a Giorgio Armani jacket. The piece was signed by Jones herself backstage at the gala, shortly before it was auctioned off. After a lively round of bidding, the image sold for €20,000.
The amfAR Milano After-Party, presented by Vionnet and Le Baron, featured music by DJ Johnny Dynell, I’m Someone and The Shoes. Champagne and spirits for the evening were provided by Moet Hennessey.
Through the years, the Italian fashion community has been exemplary in its support of amfAR, with fashion houses and designers underwriting and leading many of the Foundation’s most successful fundraising efforts. Since amfAR’s first international benefit, held in 1993 during the Cannes Film Festival and hosted by amfAR Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the Foundation’s international galas in Milan, New York, Cannes, Venice, Rome, and beyond have become some of the most high-profile and eagerly anticipated charity events in the world and have helped raise millions for critical AIDS research programs.