In a matter of hours, amfAR’s 7th annual Inspiration Gala in New York City this past Friday raised $1.2 million for AIDS life-saving research. The cure for HIV has progressed “from the realm of fantasy to the realm of possibility, and now, to the realm of probability in the foreseeable future,” said Chairman of the Board of The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), Kenneth Cole. In support of this race for the cure, the amfAR partnered with Harry Winston, MAC Viva Glam and The Points Guy to produce the 7th annual Inspiration Gala New York. Longtime supporter of the leading nonprofit organization, Whoopi Goldberg hosted this black-tie benefit as the event honored Naomi Campbell and Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director, Kim Jones, for their devotion to the cause.

Dwayne Wade, Gabrielle Union, Leonardo DiCaprio, Victoria Justice and Zac Posen were just a few to the many in attendance at Skylight at Moynihan Station last Friday, helping the benefit total $1.2 million for amfAR’s investments in AIDS research initiatives. Also supporting the cause as the gala’s featured performances were Nico & Vinz singing their hit single, ‘Am I Wrong’, and ‘Trumpets’ singer, Jason Derulo performing a medley of his latest album.

Courtesy of amfAR
Courtesy of amfAR

Zayn Malik attended the event to honor his friend and stylist, Kim Jones, by presenting him with amfAR’s Award of Inspiration, which celebrates Jones’ enduring support for the ongoing battle against AIDS. Naomi Campbell, as co-honoree, received the Award of Inspiration from her longtime friend, Wendy Williams, for her consistent relationship with amfAR over the past 23 years. Campbell dedicated her accolade to those who continue to suffer from HIV and AIDS, imparting words of encouragement that “we are nearly there and we are not going to give up.”

The event continued with a live auction of luxurious items, conducted by Sotheby’s Andrea Fiuczynski. The items up for sale included an invitation to attend the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s annual gala in St. Tropez, as well as a private portrait sitting with the renowned photographer, Steven Klein. Louis Vuitton scarves donated by honoree Kim Jones and a Herb Ritts photograph titled, Backflip, Paradise Cove, were also among the featured items on the auctioning block.

Guests were then privy to a full-scale menswear runway show, produced by Josh Wood Productions. In keeping with the ‘Jet Set’-theme, a red hot, parachute-inspired ensemble kicked off the show. Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Versace and Givenchy were but a few of the designers who donated looks for the runway. New York’s very own Benjamin Sturgill styled the models, while participating partner, MAC cosmetics, provided the models’ makeup for the event.

The Estée Lauder Company and leading brand of professional cosmetics, MAC Cosmetics’ has catapulted the brand to 110 different locations worldwide by simple word-of-mouth publicity. In partnering with amfAR, the makeup brand extends its global voice to the fight for a cure for AIDS. Brian Kelly, founder of ThePointsGuy.com also lends a hand as his site extends to 2.8 million monthly visitors and 1.3 million social media followers. Kelly’s company provides useful advice to jet-setters on the latest travel deals and breaking news within the global industry. Through his collaboration with amfAR, his company’s worldwide reach serves to expand the support of the fight against AIDS.

However, no partnership is as enduring as amfAR’s relationship with find jewelry mogul, Harry Winston. After their relationship became public in January of last year, Harry Winston has been devoted to advancing amfAR’s efforts to end the widespread AIDS epidemic through direct financial contributions and in-kind donations. Harry Winston will become he first company to serve as the presenting sponsor for 27 amfAR gala events over the next three years. This partnership will continue to raise the necessary funds for amfAR and its critical investments in pioneering AIDS research. Through their $100 million Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative, Harry Winston and amfAR aim to develop the scientific basis for the disease’s cure by 2020.

The 7th annual Inspiration Gala New York is a part of the Inspiration series launched by amfAR and Josh Wood Productions in 2010. The gala series collaborates on the celebration of men’s fashion as well as the support for amfAR and its life-saving AIDS research programs. The $1.2 million raised this past Friday adds to the $26 million sum these Inspiration events have raised over the past six years, working towards the total of $450 million amfAR has invested in its programs and initiatives since 1985.

Naomi Campbell, Kim Jones, Harry Winston and countless others are devoted to the spread of amfAR’s cause and its life-changing initiatives. amfAR asks the global community to lend an ear, donate to the cause and help them find a cure to this AIDS epidemic.

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