Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Heidi Klum, Alan Cumming, Michelle Rodriguez, Karolina Kurkova, Alessandra Ambrosio, The Chainsmokers, and Kelsea Ballerini were among those gathered at the 21st annual amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street earlier this month to pay tribute to actress and longtime amfAR supporter Milla Jovovich, legendary fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and tireless amfAR supporter and auctioneer Simon de Pury for their longstanding commitment to the fight against AIDS.
The event raised over $1.7 million for amfAR’s lifesaving research programs.
Other guests included Alanna Arrington, Alex Lundqvist, Anne V, Blanca Padilla, Brandon Thomas Lee, Brian Kelly, Candice Swanepoel, Caroline Daur, Caroline Vreeland, Chanel Iman, Charlotte Lawrence, Charlotte McKinney, Chloe Lukasiak, Danielle Herrington, Daphne Groeneveld, Delilah Belle Hamlin, Devon Windsor, Duckie Thot, Ebonee Davis, Elsa Hosk, Emily DiDonato, Eniko Mihalik, Flaviana Matata, Gala Gonzalez, Gizele Oliveira, Grace Elizabeth, Gracie Carvalho, Gustav Witzoe, Hilary Rhoda, Isabeli Fontana, Jack Brinkley Cook, Jacques Pougnet, Jordan and Zac Stenmark, Josie Conseco, Jules Horn, Jourdana Phillips, Karen Elson, Kate Boch, Kelsey Merritt, Lais Ribeiro, Lameka Fox, Larsen Thompson, Leelee Kimmel, Lindsay Ellingson, Lindsey Wixson, Lion Babe, Lucky Blue Smith, Marjan Jonkman, Megan Williams, Myles O’Neal, Moran Atias, Nadine Leopold, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Nina Agdal, Noel Capri Berry, Parson James, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sasha Luss, Sasha Pivovarova, Selah Marley, Star Jones, Sterling Shepard, Valery Kaufman, Victoria Justice, Winnie Harlow, and more.
The evening commenced with a soulful performance of Love Is Here and Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good by singer-songwriter and model Caroline Vreeland, who set the stage for longtime amfAR supporter Alan Cumming to welcome guests and thank the fashion community for their continued support. He reminded the audience that they are directly impacting exciting progress in amfAR’s mission to end the AIDS epidemic, and introduced amfAR Chairman of the Board, Bill Roedy. Roedy spoke about amfAR’s innovative breakthrough cure research, which is being led by “world leaders in the relevant techniques” and is made possible by funding from generous supporters. Winnie Harlow took the stage to thank sponsors for making the evening possible, and led a special gala-wide toast with Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Champagne.
Karolina Kurkova presented the amfAR Award of Courage to Simon de Pury, recognizing his ability as one of the most respected auctioneers in the art world to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for amfAR and many other charitable organizations. She shared that his generous spirit and his “fierce and continuous dedication to the cause” make him a “true inspiration to us all.” Simon de Pury looked back on his first AIDS charity auctions with Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. He said that he was “deeply affected by what was and still is going on” and emphasized that we need to “do whatever we can to make AIDS history.”
Platinum singer-songwriter Parson James performed an uplifting rendition of Sinner Like You and Stole the Show before Michelle Rodriguez took the stage to present the amfAR Award of Courage to Milla Jovovich. Rodriguez recognized Jovovich’s twenty years of dedication to amfAR’s mission, saying that, “her commitment stems from her compassion, her humanity, and from her own personal experience of losing people to AIDS.” In her acceptance speech, Jovovich dedicated her award to amfAR founders Dr. Mathilde Krim and Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who she counts as two of her heroes. She emphasized the importance of continuing to fight for progress towards a cure, and shared the immortal words of Elizabeth Taylor: “I will not be silenced and I will not give up and I will not be ignored.”
Kim Kardashian West presented the amfAR Award of Courage to Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, recognizing that “while their status as the world’s most sought-after photographic duo is well established, their humanitarian efforts and generous support of organizations like amfAR tend to get less attention.” She commended their years of dedication to amfAR through chairing galas, making personal contributions, and donating their photographic work to auctions. Mert and Marcus thanked the doctors, scientists, and volunteers who have devoted their time to bringing an end to AIDS, and shared their belief that “each one of us has the power to help find a cure sooner.”
The evening’s fundraising efforts began with Lais Ribeiro, Chanel Iman, and Isabeli Fontana inviting event honoree Simon de Pury back to the stage to conduct the live auction. Highlights of the auction included:
A five-night stay for eight guests on the private Thanda Island off the coast of Tanzania, auctioned off by Heidi Klum
Karen Elson presented an exclusive photograph of Kate Moss by event honorees Mert and Marcus
Station to Station, an oil and lacquer work on canvas by Chris Succo
Jean Dubuffet’s View From Clariges, an original abstract photograph by event honoree and auctioneer Simon de Pury
Greg Bogin’s acrylic and urethane work on canvas, The Friend
An eight-night stay for two at three of Aman’s luxury Southeast resorts
Bill Saylor’s work on canvas, Sucker for the Sun
A portfolio of ten images of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol
A Norman Parkinson photograph of Jerry Hall and Antonio Lopez
To close the night, three-time Grammy Award winner Maxwell introduced EDM-pop duo The Chainsmokers and special guest Kelsea Ballerini, They sang hit singles such as Closer, This Feeling, and Hope, which had guests out of their seats dancing.
The event’s Signature Sponsors were Absolut Elyx, Perrier-Jouët Champagne, and The Points Guy. Guests enjoyed glasses of Perrier-Jouët and Absolut Elyx cocktails throughout the event. Mandarin Oriental, New York was the Associate Sponsor. Wines were generously provided by Boroli.
The amfAR Gala New York is produced by Andrew Boose/AAB Productions.