Stars of Hollywood and the fashion world came together last night for amfAR’s annual Inspiration Gala, held last night at the Plaza.
Legendary nightlife producer Josh Wood is the mastermind behind the event, now in its fourth year. What started as a wild fundraising idea by Wood (he initially considered an all-leather dress code) has raised nearly $10 million for AIDS research since its inception.
“It’s been amazing for me to give back and get involved, and the money goes somewhere really incredible because three out of the top five anti-retroviral drugs on the market for treating HIV and AIDS are from amfAR research,” Wood said proudly. “The first child that was cured of HIV was from amfAR research, so the money really goes somewhere special.”
One of the many ways that Wood raises that money is through auctions. The centerpiece of last night’s event was a 54-look runway show featuring military-themed menswear from some of the industry’s top designers, from Thom Browne to Richard Chai–and all the looks were up for silent auction. “We have all this great stuff and that’s how we really raise money for the charity,” Wood said.
Just as important as raising money, each year the Inspiration Gala honors people who “are inspirations at the crossroads of philanthropy, fashion, and the arts,” according to Wood, and this year was no exception. Designer Valentino Garavani was given the Award of Inspiration, accepted by Iman, for his work with amfAR and his own AIDS foundation in Italy.
The legendary Liza Minnelli was on hand to present the Award of Courage to friend Alan Cumming, chosen for his outspoken work for public health and AIDS research. André Leon Talley presented Jennifer Lopez with the Humanitarian Award; Wood said he chose Lopez because he wanted people to be aware of her immense charity work. “Not only has she done a lot of stuff for amfAR, and UNICEF and traveled all over the world, she also has her own family foundation,” Wood shared.
Even though it was a star-studded, glamorous party, Wood would be perfectly happy to never have another one again. “amfAR is really dedicated to finding a cure for HIV and AIDS and they feel like it’s something in the near future,” Wood said.
“So hopefully we won’t be doing this much longer.”
Check out the all the glam from last night’s do-good event: