James Franco made sure the $16,000 winning bidder of a photo shoot with him would be satisfied.
“I guarantee it will be naked if you want,” Franco said.
The offer was a highlight of the second annual American Foundation for AIDS Research Inspiration Gala, held last night at the Museum of Modern Art.
Heidi Klum wore a Michael Kors turquoise dress that exposed almost every inch of her sculpted back. Ke$ha, the dance-track pop singer, showed up in barely any bottoms. Katie Lee, the cookbook author, wore a $750,000 white-gold cuff studded with akoya pearls.
And a fashion show featuring designs by Richard Chai and Marlon Gobel, among others, brought forth bare-chested male models in metal headdresses and masks designed by Rodrigo Otazu, who makes jewelry for Lady Gaga.
With all that skin, the event had some serious turns.
Jennifer Hudson, wearing a white Michael Kors dress, brought a gospel belt to Leonard Cohen’s dark and joyful “Hallelujah.”
Liza Minnelli recalled bringing the actor Rock Hudson to a dinner at Elizabeth Taylor’s house.
“He didn’t look well at all,” Minnelli said. “Liz asked me, ‘What is wrong?’ and I told her, ‘There’s this disease and they don’t know what it is or how to cure it.’”
Soon after, Taylor joined the fight against HIV and AIDS, becoming a founding chairman of Amfar, which funds research and education in prevention and treatment.
Cole and Cure
Amfar Chairman Kenneth Cole said that 30 years after the first reports of the disease, and 25 years after Amfar’s founding, a cure is within sight.
The Inspiration Gala raised $750,000 and included award presentations to Michael Kors (who offered a behind-the-scenes “Project Runway” experience that earned $20,000 in the live auction) and Franco.
On his involvement in Amfar, Franco said, “I’ve been given so much more than I’ve asked for, it’s become a necessity for me to give back.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)