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The Sarko Effect

France's First Family Headlines the Sidaction Ball

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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy with Pierre Bergé   
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Michelle Obama may have replaced her as fashion's—make that the world's—favorite First Lady, but the arrival of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy at Sidaction's annual Dîner de la Mode on Thursday night still sent a frisson of excitement through Paris' Pavillon d'Armenonville. The appearance of her husband, President Sarkozy, brought a crowd that included Olivier Theyskens, Giambattista Valli, Diane Kruger, Vanessa Paradis, and Laetitia Casta to its feet. "Few times have I been able to actually feel the glamour in a room," sighed Milla Jovovich, who was sitting with Elie Saab. "But this was one of them."

Once France's First Family was seated, the night's program began with a toast from chairman Pierre Bergé, in which he celebrated Bruni-Sarkozy as "an incredible woman who has agreed to be a part of this incredible organization." Bruni-Sarkozy herself came next, taking the stage in a slinky strapless Yves Saint Laurent dress and whispering about how important the fight against AIDS is to her personally, particularly because her own brother passed away in 2006 from the disease. Two more speeches followed, including one by MAC president John Demsey.

Naturally, the fashion flock spent the better part of the evening in the smoking lounge. "Who eats at these things, anyway?" Lou Doillon asked, as she mingled among the likes of Lara Stone, Sasha Pivovarova, Olivier Zahm, and Dita Von Teese. The night's real fun, in fact, was a silent auction in which €300 bought you a bundle of envelopes in which one chit for a corresponding prize was hidden. Long after most guests had filed into a nearby club for an official after-party, Christian Lacroix was still on the paper chase, insisting he wouldn't leave until he found a winning ticket. But then, at a charity gala like this one, isn't everybody a winner?

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