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Supermodel Linda Evangelista opened the amfAR Milano Foundation’s inaugural event held recently in conjunction with Milan Fashion Week.

In a moving speech in which she recalled the losses of friends during the early epidemic, she talked about the death of her booking agent. “Those were desperate times for so many of us. I watched him die and helped bury him, not understanding any of it. The fashion industry was especially hard hit by AIDS.”

The event raised $1.1 million (euro750,000) for HIV/AIDS research, and was attended by many of the rich, famous and fashionable, including Rachel Bilson, Kanye West, Donatella Versace and models Anja Rubik and Chanel Iman. 

Janet Jackson, longtime dedicated philanthropist and HIV/AIDS activist, chaired the event along with many other notable people including DSquared² designing twins Dean and Dan Caten and Linda Evangelista. The event was presented by DSquared², BMW Group Italia, and Lambertz, along with media partner Vanity Fair and hotel partner Westin Palace Milano. The black tie dinner and auction was followed by an after-party deejayed by Bob Sinclar.

Alek Wek and Giuseppe Zanotti auctioned off a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti boots designed exclusively by Mr. Zanotti for Michael Jackson to be worn on the opening night of his planned come-back tour. The hand-embellished boots featured 3,000 multicolored Swarovski beads and sold for $14,634.

French model Noemie Lenoir made the impromptu decision to go out on a date with the highest bidder in the room and, in doing so, raised $16,097.

There were so many more great items auctioned off, including a private DJ lesson with Bob Sinclar.

Dita Von Teese, a longtime amfAR supporter, celebrated her birthday on the evening of the event. Von Teese closed the night by treating guests to a special performance of “Le Bain Noir.”

You can read more about the event here. To learn more about amfAR, click here

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