LOS ANGELES Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger declared “Dance to Erase MS” as the theme of the 14th annual “Race to Erase MS” benefit on April 13, and clearly the longtime gala co-chairs weren’t taking no for an answer. By the evening’s end, disco icon Donna Summer, a rare sight on the event circuit and a friend of Davis’s, had the crowd at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on their stilettos, crowding the stage and boogying to the music. Summer’s siren call capped a concert that also included rousing performances by Earth, Wind & Fire, the Goo Goo Dolls, and the Bombshell Babies.
Race to Erase MS executive director Liz Zigal produced the event with hands-on supervision by the dedicated Davis. It began with a Davis family special—one of the biggest silent auctions in town. Guests had a leisurely two hours to sip cocktails and cruise more than 1,000 items. Mindy Weiss Party Consultants dressed the football-field-size silent auction area in black and gold curtains, an elegant pairing inspired by the invitations produced by Hilfiger’s design team. Then the crowd of 1,300 moved to the ballroom, which picked up the palette with coordinating tabletops: fuzzy black tablecloths, wheat-colored napkins wrapped in necklaces made of black and gold plastic beads, and multilevel centerpieces of butter-colored roses set in sparkly silver boxes.
As guests dove into dinner, Nicole Richie, Donovan Leitch, and other celebrities joined a platoon of models strutting down the catwalk-enhanced stage in Hilfiger’s ready-to-wear. That kicked off the show produced by Associated Television International, with executive producer Suzanne de Passe and musical director David Foster. This year’s event didn’t end with the performers’ final bow. Revelers were invited to a post-party at the Century Plaza’s hip new Xbar, where the festivities continued until 2 a.m. The evening raised $2.5 million for the Nancy Davis Center Without Walls, which fosters collaboration among research scientists and doctors at seven universities and hospitals.
Photos: Silvia Mautner