*On Wednesday night, February 6, 2013, Belvedere Vodka – the world’s first super premium vodka – sponsored the amfAR New York Gala, a star-studded black tie benefit honoring individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the fight against AIDS at Cipriani Wall Street raising more than $2.3 million to benefit amfAR’s life-saving AIDS research initiatives.
The very rich and ritzy evening kicked off with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, amfAR Chairman and honoree Kenneth Cole, designer Michael Kors and amfAR honoree Heidi Klum cutting the ribbon to officially kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, marking the start of the spectacular Fall 2013 Collections, as fashion aristocracy along with some of the world’s most well-known actors, musicians, designers and philanthropists looked on.
During the “party for a purpose” event, The Foundation for AIDS Research gala honored three exemplary individuals for their extraordinary contributions to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS: Chairman of the Board of amfAR, designer Kenneth Cole, who has worked tirelessly for amfAR and the cause for over 27 years, legendary performer and amfAR Ambassador Janet Jackson, and supermodel Heidi Klum.
Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his brother-in-law Cole with his award. Designer Michael Kors presented to Project Runway’s host Klum. Maria Davis, an HIV-positive fan of Jackson’s, who has benefitted from amfAR’s work, presented to superstar Jackson.
The black tie benefit featured specialty Belvedere Vodka cocktails, dinner, a live auction of luxury items and a special tribute to amfAR honorees with opening remarks by Sarah Jessica Parker, special performances by Grammy-winning recording artist Cee-Lo Green and critically acclaimed singer Santigold, and a surprise musical performance by TV, film, and Broadway star Alan Cumming.
Featured in the evening’s live auction was an evening clutch designed by Kenneth Cole and Sarah Jessica, with an engraved clasp that reads “we are all potential carriers.” Sarah Jessica added a personal lunch with the winning bidder to the package, and it sold twice for $40,000 each. A Christopher Makos photograph of Liza Minnelli and John Lennon sold for $45,000.
In a highlight of the auction, guests contributed to a new fund created in Kenneth Cole’s name, the Kenneth Cole Countdown to the Cure Fund, raising a total of $255,000. Guests who contributed $10,000 or more to the fund each took home a limited-edition Robert Rauschenberg print.
Cole’s contributions to amfAR and the fight against AIDS are innumerable. He has served on amfAR’s Board of Trustees for more than 25 years, becoming chairman in 2004. Cole was one of the first public figures to speak out about the issue of AIDS, and through his company, Kenneth Cole Productions, he has created powerful public awareness campaigns to combat HIV-related stigma and complacency about the AIDS epidemic.
Jackson has been involved with amfAR for the past 15 years. In 1997 she donated all the proceeds from her hit single “Together Again” to the Foundation, and as an amfAR Ambassador, she has chaired many of amfAR’s most important benefit events, using her visibility as a musical icon to help improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS around the globe.
Klum has also been a longtime friend of amfAR, chairing countless fundraisers for the Foundation, as well as volunteering her time to many other AIDS charities, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation and God’s Love We Deliver.
Chairs of the event included Kevin Huvane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, Harry Belafonte, David Bowie and Iman, Kim Cattrall, Andy Cohen, Maria Cuomo Cole, Neil Cole, John Demsey, Martin Franklin, Anne Fulenwider, Nina Garcia, Milutin Gatsby, Whoopi Goldberg, Tommy & Dee Hilfiger, Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Donna Karan, Dr. Mathilde Krim, David Lauren & Lauren Bush Lauren, Cindi Leive, Terry J. Lundgren, Steve Madden, Liza Minnelli, Vincent Roberti, Carine Roitfeld, Andrew Rosen, Lorraine Schwartz, Diana Taylor, Stanley Tucci, Edward Walson, and Harvey Weinstein.
Notable guests in attendance included Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Kors, Janet Jackson, Kenneth Cole, Heidi Klum, Cee-Lo Green, Michael Strahan, Nicole Murphy, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Greene, Alan Cumming, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Andy Cohen, Jenna Elfman, Alexa Chung, Santigold, Nina Garcia, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Zac Posen, Harry Belafonte, Woody Allen & Soon-Yi Previn, Carine Roitfeld, John Demsey, Donna Karan, Karlie Kloss, Doutzen Kroes, Lily Donaldson, Katharine McPhee, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Leguizamo, and Chloë Sevigny.
Since 1998, amfAR’s New York Gala has been one of New York City’s most successful and high-profile AIDS benefits. The gala has raised nearly $13 million in support of amfAR’s programs.
The evening’s signature sponsor was M·A·C Viva Glam. FIJI Water was the event’s official water sponsor. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of amfAR. The amfAR New York Gala was produced by Andy Boose/AAB Productions.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $366 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.
M·A·C (Make-up Art Cosmetics), a leading brand of professional cosmetics, was created in Toronto, Canada in 1984 and is part of The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. The company’s popularity has grown through a tradition of word-of-mouth endorsement from makeup artists, models, photographers and journalists around the world. M·A·C is now sold in 79 countries/territories worldwide. Become a M·A·C fan at facebook.com/maccosmetics. View M·A·C YouTube and follow our M·A·C Artists on http://www.macartiststweets.com/. For a M·A·C location visit maccosmetics.com.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.