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A Winning Formula
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The Latest EJAF And amFAR Functions

Tuesday 27
May 2008 @ 15:48

Rarely has a new fashion line been introduced with the kind of fanfare seen in Monte Carlo on Friday evening when Petra Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One CEO Bernie, unveiled her latest brainchild, FORM. Given that the Monaco Grand Prix is always populated by those from the upper end of the showbiz and finance worlds, what better place than the Principality to launch a top-end menswear range – especially when you have Formula One drivers as your models!

The FORM debut was among the highlights of the Amber Fashion event, held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation, and attended by just the sort of men regularly seen in some pretty sophisticated outfits – Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian steel tycoon, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of Global Advertising Group WPP, Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team owner and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, plus fashion literati including retail entrepreneur Philip Green and Renault’s very own style icon, Flavio Briatore.

But it was the FORM models who stole the show – the sight of no less than seven Formula one drivers swinging their hips and flirting with the audience from the catwalk proved a sensation. Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard floated elegantly by; Nico Rosberg displayed a natural talent for presenting clothes; sporty Mark Webber almost sprinted the platform; and a gorgeous Nelsinho Piquet sported a devil-may-care manner. Normally somewhat eccentric dresser Vitantonio Liuzzi was transformed in urban chic, as was a stylish Jenson Button, and Adrian Sutil kept his chin in the air like a true professional. And last but not least there was Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn was not on the catwalk, but he was there in the front row, showing off a precious leather jacket from the collection.

The show got a rapturous reception and afterwards designer Petra Ecclestone received a huge bouquet from Button – and the obligatory peck on the cheeks – along with a standing ovation. Among those singing her praises was sister Tamara, who along with Steve Ryder from British F1 broadcasters ITV, was the presenter for the evening. The FORM menswear was followed by female beachwear, with the Elizabeth Hurley collection combining perfectly with Jimmy Choo shoes – the 12 centimetre-plus heels made the models larger than life. And as Monte Carlo is a city of diamonds, Chopard presented its new collection.

The finale of the evening was the charity auction, with five lots of unique character. Elton John donated an invitation to his 2009 Oscar night reception – this year it was attended by the likes of Harrison Ford, Sharon Stone, George Clooney – including return business class flights from London and accommodation for two in Los Angeles. A lucky bidder got that treat for 46.000 Euro. The second item on the shelf was a Chopard unisex watch from Elton Johns collection, and Vijay Mallya won that for 100.000 Euro. The 1974 vintage Corvette from the personal collection of Sharon Stone saw a fierce battle – Kimi Raikkonen left the field victorious, the price tag a cool 200.000 Euro.

Then there was the luxury week onboard the Indian Empress – the 95-metre super yacht owned by Vijay Mallya. That found a home for 375.000 Euro -even the booze is included, added Mallya with a wink. Finally the icing on the cake: a piano from Elton John on which he wrote Songs from the West Coast. Again Mallya could not resist: for 226.000 Euro he has a new addition for the Indian Empress – and as auctioneer Charlie Ross asserted, this piano will turn any owner into a natural player.

At the end of a splendid evening, Elton Johns partner David Furnish – present on behalf of the Foundation – happily walked away with a cheque for almost 950.000 Euro.

Madonna, Sharon Stone, Natalie Portman, Mary J. Blige, Milla Jovovich, Harvey Weinstein, Kenneth Cole, and Others Gather in Cannes to Help Raise More Than $10 Million in Support of amfAR’s HIV/AIDS Research and Prevention Programs
Most Successful Event in amfAR History. Event Presented by Bold Films, Chopard, and The Weinstein Company. Audi, Canal +, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Luxury Limited Edition Co-Sponsored Event
Cannes, France, May 23, 2008Madonna, Sharon Stone, Harvey Weinstein, Natalie Portman, Michelle Yeoh, Mary J. Blige, Victoria and Dennis Hopper, Milla Jovovich, Samantha Morton, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Christian Slater, Dita Von Teese, Bold Films Michel Litvak, Palisades Pictures Vincent Roberti, French Vogues Carine Roitfeld, and amfARs Chairman Kenneth Cole were among those who came out to support the fight against AIDS last night at amfAR’s Cinema Against AIDS gala in Cannes. The star-studded event, which was sponsored by Bold Films, Chopard, and The Weinstein Company, raised more than $10 million for amfAR’s life-saving AIDS research programs. Audi, Canal +, Hewlett-Packard Company, and Luxury Limited Edition co-sponsored the event.

Other guests who attended the gala at the Moulin de Mougins in support of amfAR included: Roberta Armani, Amira Casar, Zoe Cassavetes, Dean and Dan Caten, Roberto and Eva Cavalli, Georgina Chapman, Jeisa Chiminazzo, Maria Cuomo Cole, Emily Cole, Alan Cumming, Lily Donaldson, Laurence Ferrari, David Furnish, Eva Herzigova, Marina Hinds, Tommy Hilfiger, Joshua Jackson, Star Jones, Diane Kruger, Juliette Lewis, Danny Masterson, Rose McGowan, Tamara Mellon, Svetlana Metkina, Margherita Missoni, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Petra Nemcova, Elsa Pataki, Natasha Poly, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, Sir Cliff Richard, Joely Richardson, Guy Ritchie, Renzo Rosso, Rodrigo Santora, Valentino, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Ziyi Zhang, and Donatella Versace, who conceived of and realized the evenings décor.

The evening opened as amfARs CEO Kevin Robert Frost welcomed guests to the fifteenth annual Cinema Against AIDS Cannes event. Harvey Weinstein followed to kick off the evening and discussed his long and passionate commitment to this event. He then introduced Kenneth Cole, amfAR’s chairman of the board, who took to the stage next and reminded everyone about the critical nature of pursuing sound research in the face of the AIDS epidemic.

The legendary live auction, conducted by Sharon Stone, amfAR’s global fundraising chairman, and Harvey Weinstein, kicked off with Ms. Stone’s request for special support in honor of her fiftieth birthday. She began with her own pledge of $100,000 and in a moving speech she urged others in the room to meet her pledge; this joint effort raised $2 million in 10 minutes. Bidders included Christophe Navarre of Moët-Hennessy, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Yeoh, Renzo Rosso, Roberto Cavalli, Ryan Kavanaugh, Tommy Hilfiger, and Valentino.

Following this unprecedented gesture, Ms. Stone presented a lot including a Louis Vuitton vanity case she designed herself and a one-of-a-kind print of Keith Richards signed by the photographer Annie Leibovitz, which sold for $129,000. Later on, she auctioned off her own vintage Porsche 911 Targa, a meticulously restored automobile, which sold for $810,000.

Longtime amfAR supporter Madonna spoke movingly about her experiences losing loved ones to HIV/AIDS as a young performer in New York City in the 1980s. Madonna thanked amfAR for the work it has done over the years, and emphasized that a cure for AIDS must be found. She also introduced a clip of her documentary I Am Because We Are, a film she narrated and produced, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in conjunction with amfARs Cinema Against AIDS. In the spirit of generosity, Madonna donated a private performance of two songs, won by an ecstatic bidder for $560,000.

A special performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Mary J. Blige was a highlight of the event. Ms. Blige brought the crowd of more than 700 guests to their feet when she sang her rendition of “One” by U2, and her hit single “Family Affair.” Later in the evening, guests were treated to an unexpected surprise as amfAR Ambassador Milla Jovovich serenaded the crowd along with Ms. Stone while Dita Von Teese performed a tantalizing preview of her signature burlesque moves.

As a sharp reminder of devastating events in other parts of the world, amfAR Ambassador Michelle Yeoh asked for a moment of silence in honor of those affected by the earthquake in China.

amfAR supporter Natalie Portman also contributed to the live auction as she and Paulo Coelho danced onstage while auctioning off a package dedicated to the upcoming Weinstein film release Nine. The package included lunch on-set with a cast that includes Academy Award-winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cottilard, screening tickets, and an original manuscript of Mr. Coelhos new novel about the Cannes Film Festival. The package sold for $243,000. A last minute addition to the program was made by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, who offered “24 Hours with Diddy,” to the highest bidder. This lot raised $324,000 for amfAR.

Other highlights of the auction included:

Christian Slater and Petra Nemcova auctioned off an HP Film Festival and Tech Package for $35,000.

Rose McGowan and Svetlana Metkina auctioned off a Christian Dior Parfums package, including a personalized scent, for $40,500.

Rodrigo Santoro and Jeisa Chiminazzo auctioned off a Victorias Secret Package, including invitations for six people to the Victorias Secret Pre-Show Party, six VIP seats to the Victorias Secret Fashion show, and access to an exclusive Victorias Secret After-Party for $178,000.

A Christian Dior Couture red sapphire crystal-encrusted mobile phone with 640 diamonds was sold by Ms. Stone for $195,000.

David Furnish and Dennis Hopper auctioned off a private sitting with renowned artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel for $486,000.

Madonna added her special touch to a diamond-encrusted alligator skin Chanel purse designed by Karl Lagerfeld by including her personal lip gloss, compact mirror, and blotting papers for $486,000.

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