Gala raises $3.05m for Aids research

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Fashion Week is not a safe space for NBC news anchor Brian Williams either.

"I'm a little late," said comedian Chris Rock, on stage at the amfAr, The Foundation for Aids Research, gala at the Cipriani Wall Street event space last Wednesday night, introducing actress Rosario Dawson. "I went to the other Cipriani, I was uptown. Brian Williams told me it was there."

Rock started to laugh at his joke.

"Come on, six-month suspension?" he said, referring to Williams' punishment from NBC after admitting a story he told about coming under fire on a helicopter during the Iraq war was not true. "That's called fired where I'm from."

The event, which serves as an unofficial kick-off to New York Fashion Week, raised US$2.25 million (S$3.05 million) for Aids research and included an auction and a four-song performance by Shirley Bassey.

Designer Kenneth Cole, chairman of the board at amfAr, said that the foundation's success is largely due to "the support it gets from its friends in the fashion business".

It would be just one in a long train of parties that kept the fashion tribes buzzing through the week.

In addition to Dawson, singer Harry Belafonte and photographer Patrick Demarchelier were honoured at Cipriani Wall Street.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour introduced Demarchelier and explained that in the 1970s, when she was a very low- ranking editor, she wanted "nothing more than to be cool enough" that he might just talk to her.

She added: "Fortunately, I no longer have to skulk in the shadows to get Patrick to talk to me. Our conversations are short and straightforward. Patrick is never more French than when he's speaking English. The one word I can reliably make out on the telephone with him is the one that matters."

That word would be yes and, as predicted, Demarchelier was just as taciturn when he came on the stage. He muttered "thank you" to Wintour and walked off the stage. She rolled her eyes.

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