By Shilpa Gopinath Posted February 24, 2009, 11:00 AM EST
LOS ANGELES Two days before the Academy Awards—with so many top-tier celebrities swirling around Hollywood—Montblanc hosted a charitable gala, dubbed Signature for Good, to benefit education and literacy programs for Unicef. Michael Friedman of Delphi Productions spearheaded the production for the event, which began on Friday when a group of 250 arrived to a red-carpet set on the Paramount’s New York Street.
During the cocktail hour that preceded the gala in the foyer, larger-than-life portraits of 12 celebrities for the cause were revealed, including portraits of Susan Sarandon, Milla Jovovich, Emily Blunt, Helen Hunt, Eva Longoria, Mira Sorvino, Andie MacDowell, Sienna Miller, Christina Ricci, Jessica Lange, Lauren Hutton, and Marcia Cross. A rigging system brought in all the portraits, which stood onstage behind the celebrities during the gala's presentation portion.
At the end of the presentation—when Montblanc C.E.O. Lutz Bethge announced that the portraits would be sold at auction—the event gave way to another climactic moment when the walls of the stage lifted out of view, revealing a decor-heavy dining room. As guests supped, the stage transformed from a presentation space to an entertainment stage, as all presentation equipment was replaced by a 15-piece swing band that provided upbeat entertainment.