Cannes turns up the glamour for amfAR gala to raise money for AIDS research

ANTIBES, France (AP) — With a guestlist that boasted equal parts wealth, fame and glamour, amfAR returned to the French Riviera Thursday for its Cannes gala to raise money for AIDS research.

Queen Latifah hosted the 29th edition with Eva Longoria, Fan Bingbing and Rebel Wilson among the stars walking the red carpet. Also in attendance were models Elsa Hosk, Heidi Klum, Coco Rocha and Winne Harlow. The gala attracts many of the top names attending the nearby Cannes Film Festival.

Attendees arrived at the famous Hôtel Du Cap, Eden Roc where the evening started with sunset drinks and canapes looking out to a giant super yacht moored up in the bay.

This was followed by a dinner of asparagus and truffle starter and seared salmon main course while guests enjoyed a night of performances that Gladys Knight kicked off.

Bebe Rexha and Adam Lambert also performed.

“I’m very honored to be singing tonight for this cause and seeing amazing people on the carpet and … beautiful fashion all in the name of raising money for HIV, AIDS, research,” Lambert said before the gala.

Halsey closed the show.

The auction featured an array of artwork, diamond jewels, and experiences.

The centerpiece was a unique Aston Martin sportscar, the first of its type in the world which was auctioned off by Eva Longoria and sold for 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million).

The engine cover is signed by F1 drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso and the car will be presented at a Grand Prix of the buyer’s choice and then delivered anywhere in the world.

Other top lots included a pair of white gold Chopard earrings set with diamonds and emeralds sold for 275,000 euros ($295,000) and a Damien Hirst portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio reached 1.2 million euros ($1.29 million).

DiCaprio, an amfAR regular, slipped in undetected by cameras to enjoy the entertainment, but did not come to the stage to present the winning bidder with his prize.

The annual runway show curated by Carine Roitfeld was this year dedicated to designer Vivienne Westwood and saw a trail of top fashion models showing off a series of designs on a makeshift catwalk through the diners. ‘Jewelry and accessories are not part of this lot’ states the catalogue as the whole collection was auctioned off to the highest bidder an impressive 600,000 euros ($644,000) to the sound of Tina Turner’s “The Best.”

Guests ended the night dancing into the early hours at the afterparty, held by the hotel’s swimming pool.

AmfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $600 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,500 grants to research teams worldwide.

 

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