Direct From Dubai
A gala night from Franca Sozzani and company
As we arrived at the candlelit Armani Hotel Pavilion, an array of beautifully decorated tables offered the promise of a chic dinner under the stars and with a backdrop of dancing fountains and Dubai’s cityscape. Co-hosted by Vogue Italia and Emaar, the dinner attracted a powerful guest list with attendance from notable international press and legendary fashion icons. While digging into a starter of Canadian lobster, we listened to opening speeches by the evening’s hosts, Mr. Mohammed Alabbar and Franca Sozzani, along with models, Afef Jnifen and Naomi Campbell. Each reminded guests to partake in the evening’s charity auction, stating that the ultimate luxury was giving back; all proceeds from the auction went to the Dubai Cares organization to support education for underprivileged Ethiopian children. All the lots were fashion-focused, and while the auctioneer may have gotten off to a rocky start by interchangeably quoting prices in both U.S. Dollars and UAE Dirhams, soon enough the guests were generously bidding an average of USD $100,000 to purchase prizes from the likes of Chanel, Valentino, IWC, and Moncler.
Later on, Roberto and Eva Cavalli; Donatella Versace; Miroslava Duma and Karolina Kurkova; Lapo Elkann; Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia and his wife, actress Clotilde Courau; and Dsquared’s Dean and Dan Caten took to the stage to encourage the bidders. All in all, the event raised over USD $1.25 million. In between the auction, guests were treated to a performance by ballet dancers and Sozzani favorites, Roberto Bolle and Petra Conti. Italian tenor, Vittorio Grigolo, chimed in with soulful renditions of songs including "Maria" from West Side Story and Caruso. And in true artist’s style, Grigolo added to the auction by literally selling the shirt off his back—and for USD $40,000 at that. The well-dressed guests included representatives and VIP clientele of major luxury houses including Dior, Chanel, Mouawad, Fendi, Gucci, and Burberry, among others, who purchased tables to support the action. Other notable guests included Jonathan Newhouse, Condé Nast International Chairman and CEO; Ettore Mocchetti, Editor-in-Chief of AD Italy; and Luca Dini, Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair Italy.