Arguably, the opportunity to be in a room with Alec Baldwin is, in this day and age, enough to coax anyone out on a rainy night. Now add to that a good cause (New York’s Coalition for the Homeless) and an auction that includes works by Francesco Clemente, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, James Rosenquist, and Silvia Venturini Fendi. Yes, you read that last one correctly. Artwalk 2010—hosted by Baldwin, Richard Gere, and Carey Lowell, and honoring Rosenquist—does primarily draw from visual artists for its annual for-charity auction, but since Fendi has signed on as this year’s sponsor, the house matriarch (and accessories designer) has ponied up, too. Hitting the block will be a made-to-order Selleria Peekaboo bag (pictured), customizable from the leather or skin down to the stitching and lining, in 37 color variations. No wonder Isabella Rossellini, Selita Ebanks, Heather Marks, and Olympia Scarry are all expected at tonight’s event. Want to join them? Tickets are still available at www.artwalkny.org, where you can also bid on auction items.
The Life Ball in Vienna, a fundraiser for AIDS charities founded by Gery Keszler in 1993, is the biggest event of its kind in all of Europe—40,000-plus guests big, all of whom attend for different reasons. Some come to raise money to find a cure for the debilitating illness; others use it as an excuse to wear skimpy clothes; and still more are just looking for a reason to see Vienna, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. While taking a self-guided tour on Saturday, I stumbled into Kai Kühne, the New York-based designer who happens to fit into all three categories. “I cried four times last night,” he told me. “We were at a bar with rose marble ceilings and it was just too beautiful. It drew me to tears.” He wasn’t the only one to let his emotions get a hold of him: Later, at the Ball itself, Róisín Murphy’s mother lost control when she spotted President Bill Clinton backstage. “She just busted through his security and planted a big kiss on him,” Murphy said. Then there was Patricia Field. The Sex and the City stylist arrived at the festivities via a leopard-print convertible. “Who would have thought I would be in a motorcade?” she asked in the VIP room, where this picture was taken with models Emina Cunmulaj and Heather Marks. “I was so happy I was gonna cry.” And the crying jags didn’t stop until the chartered plane—which carried the likes of Maggie Rizer, Amber Valletta, and the rest of the models who appeared in the show—touched down back in New York. In the final minutes of the flight Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” came over the speakers, prompting a little emotional outburst from the singer herself. Not to worry, the song was promptly changed. Check back later for a complete report and party pics.