2009 May 22

AmfAR Rocs!

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Diane Kruger in Chanel Couture and Joshua Jackson Diane Kruger in Chanel Couture and Joshua Jackson
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(CANNES) If the economy has altered the world in a dramatic fashion over the last 12 months, then last night’s amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala wasn’t on the immediate casualties list. Sure, the invites were tightened to accommodate about 800 guests but it was all in favor of the priceless Hotel du Cap location. In fact, all the $100, 000 tables were long sold out, every respectable driver in the vicinity of Nice and Monaco was booked months ago, hair and make-up teams invaded virtually all of Martinez, and major carats adorned everyone’s necks and arms. And if that wasn’t enough, Bill Clinton was an honorary chairman at this year’s event--after supporting the charity last week at Life Ball. He auctioned off his saxophone (for $179,000) and was warmly introduced by Kenneth Cole. “That was way cool,” said the elated designer and amfAR chairman afterwards. “But Bill is too cool for words. And that’s exactly why we travel to this tiny French town year after year because it just gets better and better!”

Eva Herzigova couldn’t get enough of the former world leader as well. “There is something enigmatic and magical to him,” she confirmed. “He just kind of gently grabs your hand, looks you straight in the eye, and makes the rest of the universe fade away.” And while some wanted a piece of Bubba, a few billionaires’ and studio heads’ young daughters were gunning for Robert Pattinson. After some inspired introductions by Harvey Weinstein and Sharon Stone, two sets of kisses by the actor went for $27, 600 each, a number that was perhaps only topped by Madonna last year. “I honestly didn’t think this would go for more that $5,” the Twilight star quipped afterward. 

Guests like Bruce Weber, Claudia Schiffer, Elizabeth Hurley, Lily Cole, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Robin Wright Penn, Ziyi Zhang, Paris Hilton, Michelle Yeoh, 50 Cent, Stefano Tonchi, Renzo Rosso, Aliona Doletskaya, Patrick Demarchelier, Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington, and Mike Myers all dined on the plates provided by Donatella Versace (who was also present) and all were at the mercy of Stone and Weinstein during the auction. “When the bids started reaching $100,000 I gently hid my hands behind a table,” laughed Hayden Panettiere, who came with good friend David Furnish and auctioned off a limited-edition Elton John-designed watch with her partner. Elsa Pataky was in the same league. “I really wanted to bid on the Avedon photo of Nastassja Kinski,” she shared. “But then there comes a time where you realize you just can’t afford it like these billionaires can!”

And those who weren’t bidding were doing plenty of sightseeing around the tented space. The Dior table featured everyone from Eva Green to Marion Cotillard and Alex de Betak. Chanel had Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson, Rinko Kikuchi, and Charlotte di Calypso. The Dolce & Gabbana group consisted of the two celebrated Italian designers, Natasha Poly, and Josh Hartnett. “That’s what I love about Cannes,” said Dolce from his seat. “We come for two days, have enough fun for the rest of the year, and then leave without having to deal with work or tourist hassle.”  “And I what I adore about amfAR is sitting next to these two,” added Poly. “They easily win the best-ever date award!” Nearly the entire room got up to dance to a set by Annie Lennox, who was just warming up the guests for the after-party at Eden Roc, just steps away from the festivities.

Georgina Chapman managed the longest train of the night, while Cotillard quickly ran up to her room to change into more suitable dancing attire. Carine Roitfeld danced with son Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld, and said she hadn't glanced at the Guardian article that the U.S. side of the pond has been chatting about. “I didn’t even have time to read yet,” she said. “But as long as people are enjoying it, that’s a good thing.” Dita von Teese kept DJ Paul Sevigny company beside the turntables while discussing her recent Russian adventure. “I was just in Moscow for Eurovision,” she recalled. “It was a blast and such a different experience being in the middle of a pop universe.” The waiters passed out the trays of macaroons, moose cakes, chocolate treats, and gourmet lollipops as guests like Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict, Lars Von Trier, Emile Hirsch, and Pattinson stayed as late as 2:30 a.m. “This was my idea of an escape from Norway!” smiled Peter Dundas who hosted a table of his own. “It’s so beautiful here that no one wants to see their pillows.”

But eventually, BlackBerries started buzzing and word got around that Christian Audigier’s 51st Birthday party in the VIP Room had attracted the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz. The drivers were quickly summoned and the caravan moved back to Cannes. But not tennis star Jelena Jankovic, who attended an event of this magnitude for the first time. “I was just shocked to wear high heels for so long,” she smiled. “But this was my Cinderella escape before the French Open. The heels and diamonds will all soon disappear in favor of sneakers and a tennis racquet.”

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