The setting was the magical isle of Capri, but Hollywood didn’t seem very far away at Saturday night’s glamorous charity fund-raiser LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF. For starters, as Sotheby’s Harry Dalmeny enthused, “Elvis isn’t here but his motorbike is,” as both the king’s Electra-Glide 1971 Harley Davidson and screen legend Steve McQueen’s 1961 Cooper Formula Junior race car were among the treasures up for auction during the glittering dinner for nearly 600 in the arch-lined courtyard of the 14th century monastery Certosa San Giacomo.
Underwritten by the Florentine luxury retailer for the fourth year in a row, the event raised nearly $6 million, all to benefit needy children around the world in a year that saw COVID-19 bring even more challenges to the 75-year-old organization. “I’m so proud of what we built all together and I want to thank UNICEF for welcoming me into its family and introducing me to its tireless work in support of children” said Tommaso Chiabra, UNICEF fundraising chairman at the start of the evening. And, invoking the memory of one of the children’s advocacy’s most universally admired ambassadors Audrey Hepburn, the evening’s entertainers Katy Perry and John Legend capped off the evening with a soulful duet rendition of “Moon River.”
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with longtime UNICEF supporter Heidi Klum (attending the evening with daughter Leni) who has traveled around the globe including to India and Haiti to support the charity’s on-the-ground endeavors that feed, inoculate and care for children.
“I’ve seen the craziest things. I’ve seen kids in plastic bags wrapped with regular desk lamps to swaddle the kids. They really try anything and everything,” said Klum. Reflecting on her more than 10 years as an ambassador, she added, “There are so many bad things happening in the world. But how can you ever say no?”
Switching gears in her sparking silvery Elie Saab gown, the Making The Cut co-host also volunteered that picking Season 2’s winner was a hard-fought victory as the series is about to debut its final episodes. “We fought until, I want to say, maybe 2 or 3 am in the morning? Because we all fought for our favorite, which is great,” she said. “It was not unanimous, which I kind of love too. Everyone got their ‘feist[iness]’ out, especially Jeremy,” referring to the show’s new judge, Moschino designer Jeremy Scott.
Klum was one of a bevy of bold-faced names that stood out in the well-heeled crowd, including Perry’s other half, actor Orlando Bloom, who came onstage to help goose bids for the completely restored Steve McQueen race car, even sitting in the seat with a glass of champagne. Actress Vanessa Hudgens and model-actor Jon Kortajarena (whose hustler character memorably tried to seduce Colin Firth’s character in Tom Ford’s A Single Man) also cheered the crowd on during the auction, which also included striking artworks by Andy Warhol and Alex Israel, a notebook of Pablo Picasso’s sketches and a Carrera marble Mickey Mouse by Rome sculptor Gaultiero Vanelli. Also spotted during the evening were the likes of Dylan Penn, Natasha Poly, Emily Ratajkowski, Nicky Hilton Rothschild and Karolina Kurkova.
In a can’t-miss-it chartreuse Matičevski gown, Food Network star and founding board member of the Los Angeles UNICEF chapter Sandra Lee also hit the red carpet. The former girlfriend of New York governor Andrew Cuomo took the arm of People magazine editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford and his spouse, actor Lucas Baker, who were among a contingent of American guests as LouisaViaRoma gears up for its renewed U.S. online launch effort next month.
In a throwback to a group of Slim Aarons’ photographs that were also up for sale during the evening, Perry, summoning the fabled style of the Mediterranean glory, appeared on the red carpet, with Bloom, dressed in a vintage black-and-cream Pierre Cardin couture gown with dramatically bowed statement sleeves.
Later onstage she switched it up as the golden girl of the night in a gilded sequined sheath with floaty chiffon cape by Dolce & Gabbana. After Legend had wowed the crowd with his standards and an especially reflective post-pandemic take on George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” the throng surged to the stage for Perry’s set, iPhones aloft as she exhorted them with the familiar “Let’s Go All the Way Tonight.” Cooing “Isn’t it so nice to be out again with friends again” — after wrapping up the Breakfast At Tiffany’s theme song with Legend — she launched into the never-more-appropriate “Firework” that resounded above the pink-tinged lights into the Italian night sky above.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.