amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR’s New York Gala Kicks Off Fashion Week and Raises $1.2 Million for AIDS Research

Stars come out to pay special tribute to Natasha Richardson

Yves Carcelle, Sir Elton John, and David Furnish honored

Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Sigourney Weaver, Stanley Tucci, Rufus Wainwright, and amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole among attendees

Co-sponsored by M•A•C Cosmetics


New York City, February 12, 2009—$1.2 million was raised Wednesday night for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, at its annual New York Gala.  Academy Award-nominated actor Stanley Tucci hosted the black tie dinner, which featured a special memorial tribute to Natasha Richardson and performances by M•A•C Viva Glam spokesperson Lady Gaga and Rufus Wainwright.  A sold-out crowd of more than 700 people came out to Cipriani 42nd Street for the event, despite a severe snow storm.

Tucci opened the evening and introduced amfAR Chairman Kenneth Cole, who thanked the event’s generous supporters and spoke about amfAR’s tireless efforts to find a cure for AIDS.

Louis Vuitton President and CEO Yves Carcelle, and Sir Elton John and David Furnish were presented with amfAR Awards of Courage for their vital and distinctive contributions to the global struggle against AIDS.  Award presentations were made by Glenda Bailey and Ingrid Sischy respectively. 

Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Wainwright performed songs from his album recreating Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall concert.  Later in the evening, Lady Gaga was introduced by M•A•C AIDS Fund Chairman John Demsey and her fellow M•A•C Viva Glam spokesperson Cyndi Lauper.  Lady Gaga gave a special performance of “Future Love,” using a Terence Koh-designed piano embellished with crushed pearls and crushed M•A•C cosmetics.

The evening culminated in a special tribute to the actress and late amfAR trustee Natasha Richardson, a leader in the fight against AIDS.  amfAR Founding Chairman Dr. Mathilde Krim shared memories of Richardson’s dedication, saying, “Almost exactly a year ago, Natasha spoke with characteristic eloquence and passion from this very podium.  For amfAR, Natasha was the perfect ambassador—calmly persuasive, gracious, engaging, and radiating personal warmth and beauty.”

Richardson’s mother, the legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave, spoke about Richardson’s work with amfAR dating back to the early 1990s, when she would passionately organize and spearhead screenings, auctions, and fundraising events to support the Foundation.  After the crowd gave Redgrave an enthusiastic standing ovation, Meryl Streep took the stage.  Drink in hand, Streep mesmerized the crowd by singing a rendition of the Irish folk song “The Parting Glass” a cappella in memory of Richardson.

The event also included a live auction during which a Sharon Stone-designed Louis Vuitton vanity case sold for $19,000. The Damier canvas case, lined with red Moroccan leather, is an original design by Stone, made especially for amfAR.  Since 2000, sales of this case have generated $4.2 million for amfAR’s programs.  Francesco Vezzoli’s La Traviata (Crying portrait of Maria Callas with a pearl earring) earned the highest bid of the night, selling for $70,000.

Other celebrities who came out to support amfAR included J. Alexander, Carol Alt, Laurie Anderson, Nigel Barker, Sandra Brant, Steve Buscemi, Andy Cohen, Alan Cumming, Eliza Dushku, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, James Gandolfini, John Benjamin Hickey, Iman, Cheyenne Jackson, Donna Karan, Heidi Klum, Terence Koh, Zoe Kravitz, Doutzen Kroes, Karolina Kurkova, Leigh Lezark, Fern Mallis, Julianna Margulies, Kyle MacLachlan, Margherita Missoni, Christophe Navarre, Cynthia Nixon, Ric Ocasek, Ashley Olsen, Mary Kate Olsen, Paulina Porizkava, Aidan Quinn, Lou Reed, Joely Richardson, Maggie Rizer, Georgianna Robertson, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, Anja Rubik, Zoe Saldana, Chloë Sevigny, Brooke Shields, Christian Siriano, Julia Stiles, Mary Alice Stephenson, Diane von Furstenberg, Sigourney Weaver, and Anna Wintour.

Décor for the evening was provided by todd.event design.creative services.

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $307 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.

amfAR recognizes American Airlines for its commitment to the fight against AIDS and its generous support of amfAR’s mission.

Media contacts

Bennah Serfaty, Senior Director of Communications, (212) 806-1607 or
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