AIDS research benefit draws stars, royals and beaucoup bucks
Thursday night’s annual AmFAR auction-gala at the Hotel du Cap in Cap d’Antibes carried a distinctly regal feel.Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene offered up a tennis and swimming lesson plus lunch, then upped the offer to two such sessions during the bidding, bringing in a winning bid of 1 million euros. “I promise that I’ll give you a good match,” the prince said. “She’s an Olympic swimmer — I think that’s worth something.” The evening set a new record by topping 10 million euros. The event, benefits the 25-year-old American Foundation for AIDS Research. The late Elizabeth Taylor drew multiple tributes. “She taught us that we are all connected by our shared humanity,” event co-chair Janet Jackson said. Program launched with a video of Elton John recalling Taylor’s work with the org, which helped found 25 years ago. “Elizabeth Taylor was a force of nature,” he said. “She was our guiding star and will forever be with us.” Harvey Weinstein, a co-chair of the event, told the audience that Taylor pushed for compassion and research for those AIDS at a time when fear was extensive. “It was an honor to work alongside her and it was an honor to watch her movies,” he said. A print of a famed Herb Ritts photo of Taylor drew 150,000 euros and an Andy Warhol lithograph of her generated 400,000 euros. First item, introd by Jane Fonda, was a diamond bracelet that sold for 140,000 euros. Goldie Hawn introduced a week at a luxury resort in Bali for a dozen people — “a sort of ‘Eat Pray Love’ thing,” she said — sold for 100,000 euros. An extensive package of Louis Vuitton goods drew a winning bid of 55,000 euros. And a signed portrait of Mick Jagger provoked a spirited round of bids concluding at 300,000 euros. Later in the evening, Prince Albert spent 170,000 euros for a collection of French wine. The Weinstein Company offered up a package of items — a gown worn by Freida Pinto at the SAG Award, a private screening of “My Week with Marilyn” for 70 followed by a dinner reception hosted by Michelle Williams. The winning bid was for 60,000 euros.