Entertainment behind the scenes
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, famous for her chilly demeanor, surprised the black-tie crowd at amfAR’s New York Gala with her warm introduction of New York designer Donna Karan, an amfAR honoree, on Thursday night. The event packed Cipriani on 42nd Street on the eve of New York Fashion Week.
Wintour recalled how years ago, “Donna enlisted the Calvin Kleins and the Ralph Laurens” and the rest of the Council of Fashion Designers of America to band together to fight AIDS, the disease that devastated the fashion industry in the 1980s. Out of that came the Seventh on Sale benefit and other work to raise money for AIDS research to find a cure.
“Everyone refers to Donna as an earth mother,” Wintour said. “When we go to visit her, she feeds us, drapes us in fabric and tells us about her latest cause.”
Actress Natasha Richardson told the crowd how touched she was by “hearing Anna speak with such heart and passion, this so-called ice queen of fashion.”
Karan, in a one-shoulder black gown, said thatafter seeing “all these designers dropping right in front of us” more than 20 years ago, she had to do something.
Liza Minnelli, also honored by amfAR, got a standing ovation after she sang. She wore a brown sequined tunic and leggings designed by amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole. Among the celebrities there were Harry Belafonte, Dick Cavett and Mario Cantone.
A Louis Vuitton vanity case, designed by actress Sharon Stone, was among items auctioned for amfAR by Jamie Niven, chairman of Sotheby’s North and South America. “Not much room for underpants,” he joked, holding up the case — a wink to Stone’s star turn in “Basic Instinct.”