Held in the Arsenale, the city’s famed historical former shipyard complex (and now a major venue — Campari held a gala there the evening before), the event saw supermodels rub shoulders with film and TV stars and, naturally, some financially well-endowed individuals. And all to raise money for AmfAR’s work fighting AIDS.
Among the names in attendance were Jodie Turner-Smith, who happened to be celebrating her birthday the same day and kick-started the proceedings by shouting “I see a lot of rich people here!” Others who took to the stage to introduce various lots up for auction included Heather Graham, Rachel Brosnahan, Marisa Tomei and Patricia Clarkson. Also there were Sarah Ferguson, Trace Lysette and Egyptian singer Youssra, while Casey Affleck (in town for the world premiere of Dreamin’ Wild) and his partner, Caylee Cowan, showed up for photos on the red carpet.
At the live auction, Monika Bacardi was the first to put her hands in her purse, paying 250,000 euros ($249,000) on a collection of framed portraits of figures including Andy Warhol, John Lennon and Elizabeth Taylor. The biggest splurge of the night was a metal sculpture that sold for 1 million euros ($999,000). In total, just shy of 3 million euros ($2.9 million) was raised, somewhat down from the AmFar’s splashier event in Cannes, where this year more than $19 million was brought in.
Following the auction — and a three-course dinner — British singer Ellie Goulding hit the stage for a live set that included “Love Me Like You Do” and “Burn.”
Among the event’s sponsors were Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival, Campari and movie app Picticular.