LIZ TAYLOR INSPIRES: Designers Kenneth Cole, Thom Browne, Richard Chai and Robert Geller packed into a penthouse in New York’s Mondrian hotel on Thursday evening for a kick-off party to raise awareness for the upcoming amfAR Inspiration gala on June 14 at The Museum of Modern Art. James Franco will be honored at the event, and a slew of men’s labels, including Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein, will contribute runway looks for a fashion show. But it was the death of Elizabeth Taylor, who was the founding international chairman of amfAR, that was on many attendees’ minds. “AmfAR’s mission and vision was sculpted and articulated in many ways by her as an individual,” said Cole, chairman of amfAR. “She had a relentless sense of social justice. She would not back down, and she felt there was no rationale that could justify not allocating all the necessary resources to treat people who were living with [AIDS].” Cole noted the organization dropped the word “American” from its acronym — and is officially called the Foundation for AIDS Research— due to Taylor. “She felt that if AIDS existed anywhere, it existed everywhere. It wasn’t an American disease, it was a global crisis.” Founded last year by Josh Wood, to date the three Inspiration galas have raised $1 million for the group. Another event will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, on April 28.
GIVING BACK BIG-TIME: Avon Products chairman and chief executive Andrea Jung qualified for a bonus of nearly $5.4 million last year, but she won’t be seeing any of it. In recognition of the company’s less-than-stellar financial performance and in honor of its upcoming 125th anniversary, Jung will donate all of the after-tax proceeds of her “nonequity incentive plan compensation” to the Avon Foundation, where it will go toward representative scholarships, to combat domestic violence and breast cancer and to other charitable initiatives. According to a definitive proxy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, her total compensation for 2010, including the funds to be donated to the foundation and options awards that aren’t necessarily realized, came to $13.2 million, up 39.3 percent from 2009. Avon’s net income declined 3.1 percent, to $606.3 million, last year as revenue decreased 6.4 percent to $10.86 billion.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE: “I’ve been taking my out-of-town friends to parties around London all week, and tonight we’ll probably end up at The Box — which walks the line between decadent and clean fun,” said Princess Tatiana of Greece at the Whitechapel Gallery’s annual fund-raiser in east London Thursday night. “Then again, I might just go home to bed.”
Tod’s hosted the Art Plus Drama party, where guests included party co-chair Jude Law — who skidded in late; Matt Collishaw; Polly Morgan; Julie Verhoeven; Fatima Bhutto; Dinos and Tiphaine Chapman; Andrea Della Valle; Erdem Moralioglu; Angela Harnett; Astrid Munoz, and Sue Webster.
The evening featured readings by actors including Hayley Atwell, Sally Hawkins, and Tom Hollander, and a solo performance by prima ballerina Marta Romagna of Milan’s Teatro alla Scala."The people tonight — from the artists, actors, script writers, to one of the principal ballerinas from Teatro alla Scala — and the performances and charity auction is fantastic. It’s a mix that only London can produce,” said Della Valle. “It’s an iconic evening, and I’m happy to be part of it.” The auction raised 225,000 pounds, or $364,500, and featured a one-off color-splashed Tod’s D-Bag, customized by the artist Ian Davenport.
Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, the evening’s other co-chair, talked about her newest job — as senior director of the soon-to-open Pace Gallery in London. “It’s the first gallery we have in London, and it’ll open later this year,” said Dent-Brocklehurst, who was most recently art adviser to Roman Abramovich.
Across town in Mayfair, Diane von Furstenberg’s troops were out in force earlier in the evening, raising money for the Vital Voices women’s charity. Baroness Mary Goudie hosted a cocktail on the designer’s behalf, with guests including Charlotte Tilbury, Lucy Yeomans, Rena Sindi, and Sydney Ingle-Finch.
FASHION AND FILM: Getting in movie star mode, Louis Vuitton is set to unveil a pop-up shop paying homage to the art of cinema during the 64th annual Cannes International Film Festival in May. The store will be situated next to the brand’s flagship on the Riviera city’s mythic beachside Croisette Boulevard and stay open through August. The first section of the shop will showcase eveningwear suitable for screen sirens, while the back section, reached by a lush, plant-filled courtyard, will exhibit a selection of the house’s timepieces and fine jewelry. In addition, the store will also offer a selection of leather goods, ready-to-wear looks and accessories.
SCAD’S SHOE-IN: Manolo Blahnik will be feted at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s annual fashion show on May 21. The shoe man will pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award from SCAD president Paula Wallace and André Leon Talley. It’s safe to say Blahnik will be at ease with Talley. During a recent chat about fashion and film at the W Hotel in London, Talley clued in the crowd about how, as a child in the Canary Islands, the designer made boots for a pet monkey. Blahnik also shot home movies, including a take on Joan of Arc (in which his sister wound up a bit burned). The designer did a little dishing of his own. Having examined his share of soles over the years, his prize for the world’s most beautiful feet would go to Raquel Welch, who planted one on his plate at a CFDA dinner.