The director received the Award For Inspiration at the notorious gala that raised over $2 million for aids research
American filmmaker Ava Duvernay is known to stun in the outfits that she wears, and last night was no different. She’s been gravitating towards Louis Vuitton recently, feeling comfortable with the brand and last night was no different. She wore a custom Louis Vuitton creation, a black column styled gown with a neckline keyhole accent and voluptuous sleeves made by the brand’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere, while her jewels were from Chopard.
Filmmaker Taika Waititi presented her with the Award of Inspiration. Noting that it was Aunt Denise who introduced her to the original West Side Story, which was the moment she knew she wanted to be a director. “Creativity fires the imagination and justice requires imagination,” said Duvernay during her speech. “Justice is also also a space where where imagine in a world that isn’t fair, but we can make it so. If we raise our voices and cultivate our minds, teach each other and teach ourselves, we hold hands and we change. In all that we’ve learned about amfAR’s breaking work tonight, leave here and change the world.”
Duvernay has been fashion forward during the festival. Sitting front row at the Giorgio Armani runway show. She has also been wearing unique styles during the festival, like a black and white polka dot dress with a red v-neck bodice to the Giornate degli Autori, a Prada MiuMiu Women’s Tales event on Sunday as well. She’s in town to promote her new film Origins that will premiere at the festival. While the actors and writers are on strike, directors are not, as the Directors Guild Association reached a deal with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists before the actors went on strike.
The amfAR Gala also saw other notable women in attendance, telling a sartorial story in their wardrobe choice from Kate Beckinsale who wore a shimmering gold ensemble with a long flowing cape accented with gold metal-like fringes on the end. And actress Michelle Rodriguez stunned in a caramel gown with sequin accents.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is a leading nonprofit in treatment, education, research, and HIV prevention. New York based, they have been doing this since 1985, investing more than $635 million in its programs. After a string orchestra opened the night playing movie theme songs, fashion model and amfAR supporter Milla Jovovich, and amfAR Board Co-chair Ryan Greenawalt started the event.
The evening saw a performance by Leona Lewis, who took to the stage wearing a shimmering silver gown, singing Now We Are Free, the theme song from Gladiator. Unfortunately, the Venice edition of amfAR’s galas don’t hold the prestigious Carine Roitfeld fashion show of curated luxury fashion gowns that are auctioned during their Cannes gala, but the evening saw a fashionable pair of 18K ethical white gold earrings from Chopard’s Haute Joaillerie collection with a bid that started at $5,400, and which sold for $53,900. The well-to-do continued to reach deep as one person purchased an experience with Queen and Adam Lambert, which started at a bid for $5,400 and sold for $21,545.
In the eighties when HIV/Aids were taboo, when the world was shocked at actor Rock Hudson’s passing from the disease, or people watched in awe as Princess Diana touched and sat with aids patients, that was a different time. It’s clear that in thirty plus years things have changed. For amfAR to have a major company like Mastercard take a large role in supporting the night shows how far the stigma around aids has changed.
“I will say we have been very fortunate over our history to have incredible support,” said Kevin Frost, amfAR’s CEO in an interview before the gala. “Tonight, is very special. For the first time we are partnering with an organization like Mastercard, who understands the importance of the uniqueness of what we do. Everything that Mastercard does is about creating unique opportunities, and amfAR stands uniquely in this space of HIV and aids research. There are forty-million people living with HIV, but when I wake up in the morning and come to an event like this, knowing we have partners and supporters like Mastercard, Chopard, and the Red Sea Film Festival, I honestly believe we’re going to have a cure for aids and we’re going to have it in our lifetime, and it’s going to be because we have extraordinary partners to help us.”
“Mastercard, from a philosophical point believes that we can do well as a company by doing good in the society and the planet as a whole,” says Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s CMO. The company has had a boost in their stocks in recent days. “We’re not just partnering with amfAR for the general communities at large, but when your employees become a part of that movement, as an organization your culture and ethos will thrive. It makes a lot of positive difference.”
Also, in attendance was Mohammed Al Turki, CEO of the Red Sea Film Foundation, which hosted the evening, and, actors Lucas Bravo and Michelle Rodriguez, Luke Evans, Bella Thorne, Beatrice Grannò, and Jesse Williams. Despite there being a strike, and many A-list actors not being able to attend, this amfAR Gala saw more celebrities than any of their galas pointed out Frost.
After the auction, Rita Ora took to the stage to sing, I Will Never Let You Down in a column silhouette, which had a diagonal divide with a nude color palette on top and an off-white color palette on the bottom. The dress was accompanied by a matching square neckline cape and Crystal collar.