The 21st annual AmfAR Gala New York serves as the unofficial kickoff to New York Fashion Week, attracting a slew of models and the who’s-who of the fashion industry, including Candice Swanepoel, Chanel Iman, Karolina Kurkova,and Elsa Hosk. Winnie Harlow began the night by popping a bottle of champagne on stage, while Alessandra Ambrosio was spotted taking photographs with Klum before the gala started with a performance by Caroline Vreeland.
Michelle Rodriguez introduced Jovovich with the Award of Courage for her work and commitment toward the fight against AIDS, which has been the cause of over one millions deaths just this year. More than 37 million people are currently living with HIV or AIDS.
“When it comes to charitable actives, she gives it her all,” Rodriguez said of Jovovich, her “Resident Evil” co-star, who took the podium to explain her personal connection to the cause. “Like many of you,” Jovovich said, “I’ve lost friends to AIDS and have friends living with HIV today, so amfAR’s work is very important to me.”
Klum hopped on stage to help honoree Simon de Pury with the live auction, and the supermodel had a hand in raising $140,000 for a trip to Tanzania. Other auction items included Andy Warhol original signed photographs of Mick Jagger, which started at $20,000, and an iconic Playboy photo of Kate Moss, which was shot by honorees Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, which raised around $100,000.
Kardashian West presented the famed photographers Mert and Marcus — who recently just shot her sister Kendall Jenner’s “Vogue Italy” spread — with their award of courage honor. Prior to the gala, Kardashian West posed on the red carpet in lookalike black gowns with her sister Kourtney Kardashian, who was in attendance at the black tie affair at Cipriani Wall Street, Other notable attendees were Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Star Jones, Victoria Justice and the Chainsmokers, who closed the night with a performance that had vape-smoking guests dancing on their feet.
The night remained true to the cause and stayed away from politics, despite President Donald Trump’s remarks the night before during his State of the Union address during which he announced his administration’s plan to end new HIV infections in the United States by 2030.
AmfAR, however, did release a statement in response to the President’s remarks: “We commend the Administration for this achievable goal…We are hopeful that the President’s budget, set to be released in the coming weeks, reflects a strong commitment to federally funded HIV programs…In order to achieve an end to new HIV infections, robust funding is vital to these important programs, but additional funding is needed, particularly for implementation science research.”