For ten years, the Sidaction gala has closed the spring Couture season in Paris. The evening has evolved into a highly successful fundraiser for AIDS education, research, and treatment, but the personality of the actual event is contingent on a couple of other features. One, it's something of a fashion showcase, not quite to the extent of New York's Met ball, but designers do make the scene with a "muse," like Giambattista Valli arriving with Bianca Brandolini d'Adda, Peter Copping dressing Clémence Poésy, or Dita Von Teese sporting Alexis Mabille on her bod and Alexis Mabille on her arm. Jean Paul Gaultier and Grace Jones also made a logical pair, even if she was actually with The Other JPG (Jean-Paul Goude).
Another characteristic of the gala is the lengthy speechifying that precedes dinner. Not, in itself, unusual at such things, but it's always seemed a little off that they're not somehow translated for the non-French speakers in the audience. A shame, when the information being imparted is so worthy. Plus, Sidaction's work is international. Plus, the gala comes at the end of a fashion semi-week, when Paris is awash with out-of-towners. I seemed to be surrounded by people who'd quickly stretched their bilingualism to the max. Oh, well, there was always a special postprandial edition of Club Sandwich, where the Anglophones whose French had been tested and found wanting could blow off some nonverbal steam.