The stars came out last week to pay tribute to Tom Ford for his contributions to the fight against AIDS at the 5th annual amfAR Inspiration Gala Los Angeles.
Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Milla Jovovich, Alessandra Ambrosio, Patricia Arquette, Natasha Bedingfield, Kat Dennings, Balthazar Getty, January Jones, Lisa Kudrow, Gilles Marini, Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Ryan Murphy, Kelly Osbourne, Molly Sims, Dita Von Teese, Rita Wilson, amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole and Bryan Lourd.
The event, presented by M•A•C Viva Glam and Wells Fargo, raised over $3 million for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow hosted the black-tie benefit at Milk Studios. The night was filled with heartfelt tributes to Ford, and was capped with powerful musical performances. Coldplay's Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland performed acoustic renditions of “Paradise” and “Viva La Vida.” The legendary Diana Ross also took to the stage for a show-stopping medley that included “I’m Coming Out,”“Can’t Hurry Love,” “Ain’t No Mountain” and “I Will Survive.” Paltrow surprised the audience with the news of Ross’s performance, which had everyone from Rihanna and Justin Timberlake to Sharon Stone and Miley Cyrus on their feet dancing and singing along.
Earlier in the night, Rihanna presented Mr. Ford with his award, praising his “creative genius, leadership, integrity and generosity.” Ford graciously accepted with an acknowledgment of the critical importance of those who are on the front lines fighting HIV/AIDS every day. “There is nothing more important than their diligent fight and tireless commitment,” said Ford. He recounted a time when many of his friends and loved ones were affected by the disease, emphasizing that “there is a reason to remember just how sinister this disease is and to remember the fact that there is still no cure.”
As in previous years, the event featured a colorful and competitive live auction, conducted by amfAR’s Global Fundraising Chairman, Sharon Stone, who encouraged guests to give generously to amfAR’s efforts to find a cure for AIDS. The bidding included a lively battle between Miley Cyrus and Tom Ford over a Ryan McGinley photograph, which started at just $5,000 and quickly escalated to $300,000 from Cyrus. Other active participants in the auction included Rihanna, who won an iconic Willy Rizzo photograph print taken in 1949 of Elizabeth Taylor at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, France, and Justin Timberlake, who teamed up with Gwyneth Paltrow and doubled a standing offer for a signed Damien Hirst silkscreen print for a total of $80,000. Natasha Bedingfield generously donated $100,000 to the cash call.
Another momentous highlight of the night included the announcement of a $1 million gift by philanthropist and amfAR Trustee David Bohnett to further advance amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS,” a research initiative aimed at developing the scientific basis for a cure for HIV by 2020. “Countdown to a Cure” is designed to intensify amfAR’s cure-focused HIV research program with plans to strategically invest $100 million in cure research over the next six years.
Bryan Lourd and Aileen Getty chaired the event, with Matt Bomer, Ed Chase, Courteney Cox, John Demsey, Michael Patrick King, Daphne Guinness, Simon Halls, Tom Hanks, Tim Hanlon, Alan Poul, Vincent Roberti, Rich Ross, JR Savet, Amber Valletta, and Rita Wilson serving as co-chairs. The event was sponsored by M•A•C Viva Glam and Wells Fargo. Microsoft was the Official Technology Partner. Beverages were provided by Fiji Water, Belvedere Vodka and Gloria Ferrer. Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of amfAR.
The Inspiration Gala Los Angeles, produced by Josh Wood Productions, is part of a series of amfAR events celebrating all aspects of men’s style. Other events in the Inspiration series have taken place in Paris, New York, Miami, Toronto, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. To date, the Inspiration series has raised nearly $20 million for amfAR.