Amid celebrity show offs, US$30 million raised at AIDS gala


By Thomas Adamson, AP

CAP D’ANTIBES, France — Amid celebrity schmoozing, glamorous fashions, musical performances and the frequent banging of the auction hammer, the French Riviera’s annual star-filled amfAR gala brought in its expected share of drama �X with celebrity invitees including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sienna Miller and Adrien Brody.

But, importantly, Thursday’s celebrity auction in Cap d’Antibes, at the luxurious Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc, raised in excess of USUS$30 million for the fight against AIDS, a cause for which Elizabeth Taylor, one of the organization’s founders, fought until her death in 2011. The late icon figured prominently into the hours-long event, as an Andy Warhol portrait of her was auctioned off �X and quickly snapped up by Eva Longoria for 540,000 euros (USUS$600,000).

Here are some other highlights from the starry night: Jeff Koons Caps Art Sales

The highlight of the celebrity auction was the sale, at about 11.6 million euros (USUS$13 million), of artist Jeff Koons’ ��Coloring Book�� sculpture to billionaire Leonard Blavatnik. It was installed and much admired by guests at the event venue, the Hotel Du Cap-Eden Roc hotel.

Art collector-cum-��Titanic�� star DiCaprio donated a work from his personal collection by enigmatic British street artist Banksy �X bought for about 986,000 euros (USUS$1.1 million). He also donated a gala ticket for his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation charity event in St. Tropez, including a private dinner with him, that sold for 205,000 (US$280,000). Why Was Sharon Stone

Not There?

The longtime amfAR auction host Sharon Stone was nowhere to be seen, a surprise, given her intense dedication to the event.

But in a statement to The Associated Press sent by amfAR, the 57-year-old said that she could not ��attend due to work commitments.��

��I am grateful that on this my 20th year with amfAR, we have become a solid community that has grown to the point of functioning and succeeding in fundraising and HIV/AIDS awareness,�� she added.

Instead of one host, there were many, as stars ranging from Michelle Rodriguez to Kendall Jenner tried to cajole the deep-pocketed crowd to bid on items.

Supermodel Karlie Kloss was perhaps the most animated, at several points shaming the audience when she considered a bid too low. The (Non-)Spice Girls Reunion

A beauteous, but motley, crew of petite Eva Longoria and towering Lara Stone and Karlie Kloss burst into an a cappella version of ��Wannabe�� by the Spice Girls, while on the cocktail carpet of the amfAR event.

Needless to say, it attracted attention from hungry photographers.

While Kloss said that her Spice Girl of preference would be ��Sporty,�� the others told the AP that they wanted more original names.

��Desperate Housewives�� star Longoria said she was ��Latina Spice,�� while model-of-the-minute Stone preferred the dubious ��Old Spice.��

Stone’s comment was ironic, referring to the male cologne, but perhaps also a tad risky since the fashion world is so age-conscious and cut-throat. Aids Cure by 2020

New York art dealer David Benrimon donated a Pablo Picasso sketch that raised 719,000 euros (about US$800,000) and a Fernando Botero sculpture that raised 2 million euros (US$2.2 million.)

��Elizabeth Taylor started the foundation and it’s saved millions of lives. Now we will have, I really believe, an HIV cure by 2020,�� he said.

��It’s not superficial, people here are real,�� he added.

Michael Fassbender Makes a Connection