amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, kicked off fashion week with its annual New York Gala on February 9, 2011, raising more than $1.5 million for AIDS research. President Bill Clinton, Diane von Furstenberg, and amfAR Founding International Chairman Dame Elizabeth Taylor were honored with amfAR Awards of Courage for their vital and distinctive contributions to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS. Awards were presented by Chelsea Clinton, Barry Diller, and Sir Elton John, respectively. The black tie benefit marked 25 years of amfAR, and featured a special reunion performance of “That’s What Friends are For” by all of the original artists: Elton John, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder (see video below). This marked the first time the four had performed the song together since the 80s—they originally recorded it in 1985 as a benefit single for amfAR, raising $3 million for the Foundation.
The evening also included performances by David Garrett and Karen Elson. Also in recognition of amfAR’s 25 years, special tributes were made to the Foundation’s co-founders, Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., and Dame Elizabeth Taylor. amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver, Richard Gere, Rosie O’Donnell, Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming, Maggie Rizer, and Michelle Yeoh also participated in the program. The evening was presented by Hublot, and co-sponsored by M*A*C Viva Glam.