In Cannes, the amfAR gala returns as a movie star

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ANTIBES, France (AP) – Sharon Stone hosted and Alicia Keys gave a dazzling performance as the lavish amfAR gala that raises funds for AIDS research returned to Cannes on Friday evening.

One of the festival’s most anticipated evenings, the 27th edition was a smaller and more intimate affair than in previous years, with an exclusive guest list reduced from 900 to 400 with COVID-19 protocols in place.

The evening started with a cocktail party with ballerinas, flapper girls with Afghan hounds, shots of vodka and caviar and lots of champagne.

This was followed by a sit-down dinner without the usual after-party that keeps guests dancing until the early hours of the morning. That didn’t stop attendees from enjoying the hottest ticket in town.

Dine under the stars at Villa Eilenroc in Antibes, this year’s theme was “I am a movie star” and guests were entertained with a fashion show hosted by Carine Roitfeld. Keys was the musical headliner, performing a haunting ensemble that included his legendary hit “New York” as well as the much loved “Fallin ‘”. Keys sat down at the piano and announced to the crowd that this was his first in-person performance since the pandemic to enthusiastic applause from diners.

“It’s beautiful, it’s upsetting, it’s exciting, it’s great to stay on a mission here,” Stone said ahead of the start of the festivities, noting that some of the science being used to fight HIV and AIDS has been deployed against COVID-19. “I think we’re staying on mission and we’re back, which is really cool.”

This year’s festival jury chairman Spike Lee made a special appearance with a guest list of movie stars, catwalks and music including Dylan Penn, Natasha Poly, Orlando Bloom, Regina King, Swizz Beatz, Rachel Brosnahan and Soo Joo Park.

The live auction that took place over dinner saw a combination of luxury vacations, jewelry, artwork and unique experiences go under the hammer.

Stone led the proceedings, arriving on stage with a man on each arm. “Isn’t it so nice to be here! she cried before raising a toast of thanks to all the guests.

This year’s highlights included the ability to create your own vintage champagne which cost 70,000 ($ 82,638) euros, while a Chopard necklace in 18k white gold, diamonds, tanzanite and amethyst raised 170,000. euros ($ 200,692).

Among the works, an Andy Warhol Mickey Mouse piece raised 375,000 euros ($ 442,702), a sculpture of astronaut Michael Kagan sold for 400,000 euros ($ 472,215) and contemporary British artist Sacha Jafri created a live painting at the auction which raised 1 million euros ($ 1.18 million). .

The 32 outfits from top designers featured in the evening’s parade were also auctioned off for a hammer price of 225,000 euros ($ 265,621).

The nonprofit amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, raises funds to support AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education and advocacy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $ 550 million in its programs and awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams around the world.

Ahead of the sale, auctioneer Simon de Pury stressed the importance of the auction in supporting the mission of amfAR. “AmFAR really depends on these galas, depends on the generosity of so many of these artists who donate works and so many patrons who come to these galas, so I hope we can raise a lot of money tonight for amFAR. “



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