LOS ANGELES The 18th annual Race to Erase MS surfed the zeitgeist this year, tying together three prominent strands of pop culture into one high-energy quilt. Friday’s fund-raiser for the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel—one of the biggest events on L.A.’s social calendar, scoring an impressive $2 million for research—celebrated two new beginnings: the British royal marriage of William and Kate and the launch of Andrew Charles, a new rock fashion brand owned by Davis’s longtime event co-host, Tommy Hilfiger, and his brother, Andy.
The third thread? Why, two of the biggest shapers of global consciousness, of course: Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which each donated a passel of celebrities and passes to their finales to the live auction. (They brought in $7,000 and $20,000, respectively, with two bidders ponying up $10,000 for passes to Dancing.) Mindy Weiss Party Consultants handled the decor.
Spearheaded by the hands-on Davis (a member of Hollywood royalty herself, as the daughter of the late oil billionaire and 20th Century Fox owner Marvin Davis) and foundation C.O.O. Liz Seares, the “Rock & Royalty” gala branded itself with kitschy mementos of the wedding that place only hours before—plastic tiaras dotted the silent auction and dinner tables. Kate and William look- and dress-alikes posed for photos in front of a white carriage decked out in white silk flowers in the silent auction area. The couple returned to the stage during the live auction to model an instant knockoff of Kate’s Alexander McQueen wedding gown, created by ABS’s Allen Schwartz, known for his copies of Oscar dresses. The dress is being auctioned on charitybuzz.com until May 16.
Video of the royal wedding played on giant flat-screens flanking the stage as guests took their seats at dinner, but once the room settled down, the program moved fast, avoiding the inevitable early exits after the entrée. Models and celebrities in Andrew Charles rock wear tore up the runway during appetizers, while the British-themed entrée of beef Wellington came with a side of rock legend Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, who got guests up out of their seats for a half-hour set, which included “Crimson and Clover” and other hits.
An early announcement that gift bags wouldn’t be available until 11 p.m. also kept people in their seats, until they queued up for the long line at the appointed hour, while Clay Walker serenaded the stragglers.
Also supporting the cause was Paris Hilton, who modeled jewelry designer Davis’s new crown-shaped jewelry collection in the program and on the foundation’s Web site. She and sister Nicky also pulled in $10,000 at the live auction for the chance to shop with them on Robertson Boulevard for $2,000 worth of clothing and jewelry.