Last night’s amfAR Inspiration Gala played host to a lot of men—a rarity for the gala scene. “You’ve got a lot of gay people here, and they know how to have a good time and make it groovy,” Simon Doonan noted. “We’d leave if it were boring, so bottom line is that gay people are the chosen people, and they make it fabulous.” His observations weren’t far off point. AmfAR is known for hosting parties around the world that rev up the typical gala formula with some carny entertainment. “New York has so many galas, it gets to be too much, so I think it’s very smart to have this fun side,” Francisco Costa agreed.
Much like amfAR’s recent galas in Cannes and Austria, New York’s rendition, held in the New York Public Library, included a runway show—this one strictly comprised of menswear, with this year’s theme focusing on athletics. Things got off to a saucy start, with the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders brandishing their pom poms and buttocks in the air for a kick-off routine. Then came over sixty male models—over half of which were dressed in impossibly teeny speedos. This writer wasn’t the only one left blushing—NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez was spotted giggling and prudishly shielding his eyes in the front row. But of course, there were also some impeccable suits in the mix, courtesy of labels like Versace and Hugo Boss, plus some show-stopping ensembles by Thom Browne. “Out of all of the events, this one is where I take the craziest ideas from my shows—it’s the one place you can really just have fun,” Browne explained.
Downstairs, the awards ceremony began, and Marc Jacobs president Robert Duffy was honored with the Piaget Award of Inspiration, presented by Hilary Swank. “Robert is the most charitable and wonderful person that I’ve met in my life; I can’t think of anyone more deserving,” Jacobs said before the show began. Duffy seemed moved by the award, and humbly told ELLE, “It’s not really just me; it’s the people I work with that really do all of the work.”
Fergie was also bestowed with a Piaget award, hers presented by Francisco Costa. “It’s amazing because it’s an organization that I’ve believed in for many years and will continue to believe in until there is a cure for HIV/AIDS,” she told ELLE following the night’s live auction, hosted by the always-animated Doonan. The range of lots included a Cindy Sherman photograph, a $20,000 Kohler toilet that warms your feet, and ‘The Marc Jacobs Experience’, which Fergie herself purchased—culminating in nearly $1 million dollars raised.