amFAR is still counting the receipts from its annual gala in Cannes, held a month ago. Despite every effort, I’ve been unable to ascertain how much money they collected from the event held in massive tent on the grounds of the Hotel du Cap.
But what I have learned is that several designers didn’t purchase tables this year. Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton/LVMH were among those who for the first time eschewed the pricey dinner where tables go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Corporate sponsors are what keep dinners like amFAR or the Met Ball alive. None of the celebrities or models you see in the glamorous photos for these events actually pays for their own ticket. The tickets are underwritten by the sponsors. Celebrities are placed at their tables.
But amFAR has been in decline for some time. This year, especially, they took a big hit after fighting publicly with Sharon Stone, tossing their board — including 25 year chairman Kenneth Cole — and getting into a crazy fight with Harvey Weinstein (who wound up departing anyway after his own scandals).
amFAR is famous for its parties and paying its executives a lot of money. CEO Kevin Frost makes over $600,000, which I’ll bet no one told the volunteers who amassed at the entrance of the Hotel du Cap the day of the gala. Their cars swoop around Cannes for a week before the gala, and a big number of them hunker down in a four star hotel, all expenses paid.
And yet, there is no word about their finances from this event, their biggest of the year. amFAR has another smaller event planned for New York on June 20th, and one in Paris on July 4th. Frankly, I’d give the money to the Elton John AIDS Foundation first until amFAR has some transparency.