All About Madonna’s Surprise Appearance at amfAR’s L.A. Gala Honoring Jeremy Scott and TikTok

“It feels good to be doing normal things,” Mila Jovovich told partygoers as they took their seats on Thursday night at the annual amfAR Los Angeles gala. Though the evening, which unfolded at the Pacific Design Center in a typically grand fashion synonymous with the charity dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDs, was anything but normal. This was perhaps best evidenced by Alessandra Ambrosio, who slowly wafted through the room in an Ellie Saab couture grown dripping with long strands of crystals that beautifully reflected the light of the camera flashbulbs onto the ceiling of the tent constructed for the open-air evening. 

Ambrosio included, it was clear that all of the evening’s supporters took their fashion cues seriously, largely thanks to this year’s honoree, Jeremy Scott. The designer himself could be found surrounded by his merry band of friends and collaborators like Anitta, Gigi Goode, Violet Cachki, and Diplo; all bedecked in his campy confections produced for both Moschino and his eponymous brand. Paris Jackson was on hand, too, though she opted for a lace gown and sky-high heels from Vivienne Westwood, a fellow outspoken activist. “That is my favorite part about Vivienne,” Jackson told Vogue alongside stylist Danyul Brown and Rushka Bergman. “I think it’s kind of a waste of a platform if I’m not going to use it for important causes like amfAR.” 

A full slate of entertainment followed. Auctioneer extraordinaire Simon de Pury rallied the room to sell off artworks by Robert Mapplethorpe, Ellen von Unwerth, and Wes Lang, along with a Chakra yacht, raising the evening’s total fundraising to a whopping $1.7 million. The creators of TikTok also took home an award for their community engagement, presented by Addison Rae. Then OneRepublic and Bebe Rexha, backed by a string quartet, brought the house down with a duo of stripped-down performances. “When I’m at home, I listen to vinyls and it’s really only 1920s music,” Rexha told us, a red tulle Moschino wrap dramatically draped over her shoulder. “I don’t listen to anything current now, because I’m so over the same things. I want new melodies and styles of music. I’m trying to find inspiration for this new era of life.” 

As the evening began to wind down around 11 PM, there remained one question: When would Jeremy Scott be accepting his award? Just then, a roar erupted as Madonna was welcomed to the stage. “I’d like to say they saved the best for last, but I’m just really f-ing late,” she said, though she could clearly do no wrong in the eyes of this crowd, many of whom stood atop their chairs, craning their neck for a closer look at the legendary multi-hyphenate. Scott took the stage to accept the award, giving Madonna a tight embrace. “Even before there was the term ally, there was only one word that represented a safe haven for young gay boys like me, and that word was Madonna,” he said. “So, honestly, on behalf of all the gay boys and gay girls who you made feel seen, appreciated, and loved, I am so humbled to accept this honor from the most courageous woman I know.” 

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