Every May, generosity knows no bounds with the glamorous party-goers during the annual AmfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS galas at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc during the Cannes International Film Festival. This year, the acclaimed British artist Damien Hirst created a mammoth gilded skeleton encased in a gold tank filled with formaldehyde that will be auctioned off for millions. Like his art or not, Damien’s considered a Big Kahuna in the contemporary art world.
Auction items from past years: a hug and a kiss from George Clooney, plus a dream trip into space accompanied by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sharon Stone oversees every gala with her showmanship auctioneering. Joining her at this year’s blockbuster black-tie event were Jessica Chastain, Berenice Bejo, Heidi Klum, Karlie Kloss, Adrian Brody, Harvey Weinstein, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former First Lady of France now the ambassador for the Roman jeweler Bulgari. Performing were Robin Thicke and Lana Del Rey, who flew to Italy to perform at the wedding of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
A red-themed fashion show was anticipated as the highlight (red being the color symbol for the fight against AIDS). Participants included the ateliers of Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, Prada, Marchesa, Tom Ford, Versace, Burberry, Givenchy, Kenneth Cole, Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli.
Sharon Stone reminds that the breakthrough for the drug, nevirapine, that stops mother-to-child HIV transmission through birth control, came about from the research monies provided by amfAR since 1985.
Festival party hosts through the decades ranged from Harvey Weinstein to media baron Charles Finch, son of the Oscar-winning Peter Finch (Network). Charles is the man to know in Cannes, London, New York, or wherever he lands with his big heart and, as British Harper’s Bazaar reports, “his gift for bringing people together.”
Not long ago, Charles took over London’s venerable Annabel’s club in Berkeley Square on the night of a full moon, with Chanel co-hosting. Mariachis played, margaritas flowed, and girl of the year Lupita Nyong’O and mom Dorothy met the Brit scenesters.
In the hot-to-trot crowd: Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Shiva Rose, Matthew Modine, Pierce Brosnan, Jeremy Irons, Idris Elba, Amanda Harlech, Nicky Haslam, Jemima Khan, Gillian Anderson, Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron with Sheherazade Goldsmith, Joe Wright, Julian Schnabel, Steve Coogan, Richard E. Grant, Nigella Lawson, Russian model Olga Kurylenko.
A tradition in its 15th year, Charles’ evening preceded the BAFTA awards weekend, hosted in honor of his late friend Sir James Goldsmith, the renowned financier and politician. Sir James wed three times, amid clandestine assignations, and it was he who reflected, “When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy.”
In London, meanwhile, Ralph Lauren presented a multi-million dollar donation to the Royal Marsden Hospital, the biggest and most comprehensive cancer center in Europe. Scheduled to open in 2015, the Ralph Lauren Center for Breast Cancer research is not far from two of the designer’s stores in Chelsea. This research will help identify molecular differences between tumors, the hope being to develop treatments that will eliminate unnecessary toxic medications.
Prince William hosted a dinner for Ralph Lauren at Windsor Castle. Attending were Ricky, David, Dylan and Andrew Lauren, with the Prince acknowledging Lauren for “setting a bench mark” for cancer research. Among the 150 dining on salmon with vegetables and steak were Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Emma Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Kate Middleton, the beloved Duchess of Cambridge, remained at home minding her future heir to the British throne Baby George.