amfAR GALA CANNES 2021. Reportage by RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
Antibes, France, July 17, 2021 The 27th annual amfAR Gala Cannes raised over $11 million for amfAR’s lifesaving AIDS research programs last night at Villa EilenRoc in Antibes, France.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy. Founded by Elizabeth Taylor in 1985, the American Foundation for Aids Research brings together many celebrities each season to raise funds to fight AIDS and this new edition is no exception. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $600 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,500 grants to research teams worldwide.
Alicia Keys headlined the evening, which included an exclusive dinner. Longtime amfAR Global Campaign Chair, Sharon Stone, hosted the evening and served as auctioneer along with Simon de Pury and Sandra Nedvetskaia.
Guests in attendance included Spike Lee (Special Guest), Regina King, Rachel Brosnahan, Orlando Bloom, Bella Thorne, Abdullah Al Eyaf, Alexandre Mattiussi, Caroline Scheufele, Chloe Wise, Cindy Bruna, Darren Criss, Dylan Penn, Edouard Waintrop, Ellen Von Unwerth, Ian Bohen, Jean Pigozzi, Jeremy O. Harris, Jordan Barrett, Julianne Hough, Kennedy Yanko, Mahmood, Maria Bakalova, Michael Kagan, Miss Fame, Mj Rodriguez, Mohammed Al Turki, Mohammed El Khereiji, Natasha Poly, Nicholas Braun, Nina Dobrev, Sacha Jafri, Shivani Pandya, Stella Maxwell, Swizz Beatz, Tyler Hoechlin, Vanessa Moody, Vasily Klyukin, amfAR Global Fundraising Chair Milutin Gatsby, amfAR Trustee Vincent Roberti, amfAR Trustee Jay Ellis, amfAR Co-Chairs T. Ryan Greenawalt and Kevin McClatchy, and amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost.
Event Host Sharon Stone opened the show with a passionate speech about the vital need for a cure for HIV as the virus continues to infect thousands of people daily and claim the lives of so many. While welcoming guests, she thanked them for supporting amfAR, reminding them that their generosity has made the Foundation’s lifesaving work possible. She talked about how great it was to be together again and spoke of amfAR’s decision to expand its work in early 2020 to support researchers racing to find a way to treat COVID-19 and to further understand its effects on people living with HIV.
Guests took Ms. Stone’s words to heart and bid generously in the evening’s live auction, which included a variety of artworks and one-of-a kind luxury items and experiences, many of which were introduced by celebrities in the room. Highlights of the auction included Dylan Penn and Lucas Bravo presenting guests with the opportunity to spend a week on the world’s first green hydrogen-powered super yacht, which was purchased for $380,000. Event Chair Maria Bakalova and amfAR Trustee Jay Ellis offered a week on another super yacht, Serenity, selling for $425,000.
In a unique offering, World Artist of the Year Sacha Jafri spent the evening live-painting a work of art, providing an interactive experience for guests and bidders alike. Finished and signed at the end of the night, the creation was sold for $1,100,000.
A stunning feature of the evening was the “I Am a Movie Star” fashion show collection featured one-of-a-kind looks from the world’s most celebrated fashion houses. Participating designers included Alexander McQueen, Alexandre Vauthier, Allied-Martinez, Ami, Armani, Balenciaga, Balmain, Burberry, Celine, Chanel, Christian Dior, De Fursac, Dior Homme, Dsquared2, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Gucci, Jacquemus, Karl Largerfeld, Lowe, Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton Men, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Monot, Mugler, Nensi Dojaka, Off-White, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, The Attico, Valentino, Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. The show was accessorized with jewelry by Chopard and shoes by Christian Louboutin. Some of the world’s top models participated in the runway presentation, including Stella Maxwell, Parker Van Noord, James Turlington Jordan Barrett and Alton Mason.
Event chairs Regina King and Rachel Brosnahan opened the second act, encouraging guests to continue to dig deep and drew attention to the speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine was developed, illustrating what can be achieved with concerted action and the right investments. Other auction highlights included: Sharon Stone opened the auction, selling off a Herb Ritts print of amfAR Founding International Chairman Elizabeth Taylor, followed by a necklace donated by Signature Sponsor Chopard, which she modeled.
Presenting Sponsor The Red Sea Film Festival offered bidders the opportunity to attend the Festival in five-star comfort, which was sold twice raising $340,000.
In acts two and three, breathtaking artwork was auctioned including: On Two Feet by Kennedy Yanko, Boys in Beret by Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Victorian Secret by Chloe Wise, Royal Friends by Genieve Figgis and The Bloomer by Brian Calvin.
Michael Kagan’s Astronaut, the artist’s first ever sculpture, sold for $470,000. Alicia Keys’ performance rocked the house, bringing guests to their feet with hits such as Empire State of Mind, Fallin’ and If I Ain’t Got You.
This year’s event was an intimate affair with a limited number of guests, and adhered to all health guidelines and protocols in relation to COVID-19. As a world leader in infectious disease research, amfAR has temporarily expanded its efforts to include research on COVID-19. While there has been incredible progress on vaccine development, urgent work remains to be done to develop safe and effective treatments and to answer critical questions about the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV. amfAR continues to fund research in these critical areas.
Red Sea International was the presenting sponsor.
Chopard was the Signature sponsor. Founded in 1860, Chopard, The Artisan of Emotions, perpetuates the heritage of traditional know-how and ancestral crafts through contemporary and ethical creations.
Cultivating limitless creativity, which enables everyone to find precious objects within Chopard collections that are in tune with their own nature, the Maison takes craftsmanship to peak levels through the work of passionate and experienced artisans. Moreover, since July 2018, the Maison has been the first watch and jewellery maker to use 100% Ethical Gold for the production of all its watches and jewellery.
Today, Chopard is run by the Scheufele family and masters more than 50 professions at its three production sites, where particular attention is paid to internal training and the transmission of know-how.
The Maison lives in step with its prestigious partnerships: a loyal official partner to the Cannes Film Festival since 1998, it has also been the official timekeeper of the legendary Italian 1000 Miglia classic car race since 1988.
Photos: Courtesy Getty Images and Kevin Tachman
See exclusive reportage of Cannes 2021 amfAR Gala Foundation for AIDS