AMFAR: A trip to the Moon with a Bearded Lady

by HFPA May 23, 2014

The moon went for a million and that was the least of it. At the end of the night the stars had raised an unbelievable 38 million for AIDS research, more than tripling last year’s record. Leonardo DiCaprio auctioned off the space trip with him in 2015.

Sharon Stone once again proved to be a master auctioneer, cajoling and shaming the rich, the famous and the rich & famous into opening their pocket books. Remember, this is the woman who in previous years, made Calvin Klein show us his underwear for 5000.- and got the same amount for a peek underneath Rod Stewart’s kilt. He wasn’t wearing any underwear. She also forced George Clooney in 2007 to auction off a kiss for 350.000.

Once again Stone was in her element. A whole cellar of champagne (for 150.000 euros), a Pablo Picasso sketch (for 380.000), a Warhol print of Marilyn Monroe (for 350.000), a yacht trip, a pair of vintage Chanel gloves and a motorcycle were among the items up for aution. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli and Lanvin were among the designers that had created 42 red evening gowns that went for 3.5 million. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former first lady of France, helped auction off a Bulgari necklace that went for 400.000 euros.

But it was a gilded skeleton of a woolly mammoth in a steel and glass box by artist Damien Hirst that fetched the highest amount – 11 million euros (about 15 million dollars). The winning bidder was Ukrainian business man Leonard Blavatnik, who said he wasn’t sure where he would put the large beast. He was congratulated by Justin Bieber who looked very thin in his satin black suit.

Among the illustrious guests that included aristocrats, Eastern European business men, Hollywood stars, models and movie moguls: the Austrian winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, bearded lady Conchita Wurst in a stunning blue gown, who – in a few short weeks – has become an icon for equality and tolerance. From Sharon Stone to Jane Fonda, the stars were clamoring to meet her.

The evening was hosted by Bollywood couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. The gala, held every year at the luxurious Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, is the world’s biggest charity event at the world’s biggest festival.

Lana Del Rey and Robin Thicke performed and even at the after party guests danced til the wee morning hours despite a strong wind blowing up hair and dresses on the Eden Roc terrace.The dress code was ‘peek-a-boo’. The models Irina Shayk, Heidi Klum and Alessandra Ambrosio, singer Lara Stone and actresses Michelle Rodriguez and Rosario Dawson all wore cutouts. Klums cleavage was low and Sharon Stone out did all of them in her red frock with strategically placed holes. In the middle of the evening she changed into a glittering gold dress.

The proudest man of the night? Harvey Weinstein, who is one of the event’s organizers. He was besides himself and very happy about the 38 million raised.

Finally a note on the Cannes glamour and fashion scene. After every one of these events journalists get flooded with press releases as to who wore what where. Is it just me or wouldn’t anyone get a perverse pleasure out of an A-list actress wearing Chopard to De Grisogono and Gucci to Calvin Klein?! Totally inapropriate and totally on purpose. A press release like this would be fun: ‘A-list star (add name here) had the audacity to show up at the Chopard event dripping in our competitor’s diamonds.’ Which any good reporter would turn into a story that goes something like this: ‘The fabulous Julianne Moore showed a great sense of humor by showing up at a jeweler’s party wearing diamonds by a competitor, thereby proving once and for all that stars won’t be bribed and owned by these companies who get more press out of a film festival than the film makers. Good for her!’ I cannot wait until someone has the courage.

Elisabeth Sereda