amfAR’s Lavish NYC Gala Lights Up a Rainy Night

by Aria Darcella
amfAR Gala 2019

“Thank you, beautiful models, for crowding the red carpet and making me wait in the rain,” joked Alan Cumming on stage at amfAR’s fashion week gala last night. It was a fitting quip — New York might have been rainy, but the glamor of the guests certainly made up for it. Celebrities and models alike turned up at Cipriani Wall Street to celebrate the annual event, this year honoring auctioneer Simon de Pury, photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and longtime amfAR supporter Milla Jovovich.

“She’s a force to be reckoned with, that one,” said Michelle Rodriguez, who was presenting Jovovich’s award. “I remember meeting her when I was 21 years old and having the biggest crush on her. It’s that mixture of Cleopatra-energy and warrior princess-energy. She mixes the two, with the charm and the allure and the cold-bloodedness of a killer.” While accepting her honor, Jovovich revealed that the crush was reciprocated.

Between courses and performances by Caroline Vreeland, Parson James, and the Chainsmokers an art auction was held, with de Pury officiating. Despite a bit of drama in which an accidental bet was placed — pro tip, don’t raise your hand during a high stakes auction for any reason — the evening was lighthearted and exciting. It was clear how de Pury earned his reputation as one of the world’s best-known auctioneers: the night raised over $1.7 million. $90,000 was paid for a Mert and Marcus photo alone, partially driven by Karen Elson reminding the bidder that the photographers were seated just one table away.

“amfAR, thank God, is run and headed by a bunch of individuals who really know what they are doing!” Rodriguez gushed on the red carpet. “Drugs have been developed by the research that’s been funded by them. Advancements in the science of curing AIDS has been developed by this…you can look at their track record and see how every five years there’s a big bang of evolution in what they’re trying to do, which is cure AIDS. I’ve been a big fan for the last 10 years because of that. I’ve traveled the world, and visited many charities, and tried to help many organizations, and I just realized a lot of them just don’t know what they’re doing. amfAR does. That’s why I support them so much.”

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