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Haute Society

The couture crowd raises funds for AIDS research

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Pierre Bergé and Catherine Deneuve   
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The Sidaction gala has become the most eclectic red-carpet event of the Paris social calendar, drawing luminaries from fashion, showbiz, the arts, and public life. Last night's roundup of 600 or so guests was no exception: Among the attendees were Isabel Marant, Christian Louboutin, Bouchra Jarrar, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, Chloë Sevigny, Catherine Deneuve, and Betty Catroux—and that's just a sampling.

"This is pretty much the only place where you can mix with friends in the business in a low-key way," noted Marant. "It's so much bigger [than fashion alone]." Added Catroux, "I don't even follow fashion. To me there is fashion and then there is Yves Saint Laurent. Thanks to Pierre [Bergé] , this [event] occupies a whole different level." The raffle prizes, too, hit new heights: Exclamations ricocheted around the room over loot from Chanel (Farida Khelfa won one bag), Dior, and Roger Vivier. But whomever scored this year's biggest prize—jewelry by Marie-Hélène de Taillac worth several thousand euros—kept it quiet. In all, the fete raised 659,000 euros—more than $900,000—for AIDS research and assistance programs.

There was also a strong showing by art world heavyweights, including top gallerist Kamel Mennour, leading French contemporary artist Fabrice Hyber, and artists Pierre et Gilles, who joined a table hosted by their friend Zahia Dehar. The budding haute lingerie designer, they revealed, is about to do a turn in front of their camera as Marie Antoinette. "It's like a little girl's dream," confirmed the shapely muse, who will appear in a specially created corset, among other finery. "I'm doing a lot of research. We're taking inspiration from Marie Antoinette's love of nature—back then, she was really ahead of her time." The result will decorate a Pierre et Gilles installation at an upcoming show of 18th-century furniture—including pieces that once belonged to the doomed French queen—at the national furniture and textile conservatory at Les Gobelins.

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