It is a rare feat to turn a Manhattan fundraiser for close to 700 jaded New Yorkers into a celebration of an organization that evokes the same sincerity and generosity of spirit as the services it provides. However, on Thursday evening the God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards, honoring Anna Wintour, Leslie Moonves, and Richard E. Feldman, managed to do just that, though we’d expect no less from the grassroots-cum-powerhouse organization that dutifully delivers over one million meals to those suffering from HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.
And that is not to say the event was short on glamour, on the contrary, the boxwood step and repeat with God’s Love hand-on-heart logo crafted out of vermillion carnations and white roses was a lightning storm of flashbulbs as Blake Lively made her first pregnant red-carpet appearance and Halle Berry posed in a cutout Michael Kors dress as sexy as her famed Bond-girl bathing suit. (Thursday also marked World Food Day, an occasion Kors used to promote his Watch Hunger Stop campaign, in which Berry is a partner.)
After last week’s cyber-shattering news of Lively’s impending motherhood, the first red-carpet appearance was bound to be as anticipated as the end-of-series Gossip Girl reveal. It did not disappoint: a floor-length stretch tulle confection with oleander and lilac embroidery, also courtesy of Mr. Kors, covered Lively’s emergent baby bump. “I’ve kinda always been a mama,” she told an E! News reporter when asked about forthcoming motherhood.
Meanwhile Nicola Peltz posed like a red-carpet veteran, swiveling her torso to most advantageously reveal the sleek cutouts of her black Kors frock. Gigi Hadid explained that choosing her white, crystal-embroidered Kors minidress was easy, “I chose the short, sparkly one!”
Both of those young ladies are only nineteen but God’s Love is nearing its 30th birthday. “Can you believe God’s Love is 29 years old this year?” a cheeky Bette Midler asked the audience, “In another year we’ll be too old to date Johnny Depp!” Midler then introduced “the man, the myth, the magnificent: Michael Kors.”
“I don’t know if everyone here is a fan of I Love Lucy,” said Kors, assuming the podium, “but if you love the episode at the chocolate factory like I do, then guess what, you haven’t lived until you have seen Michael Kors and Anna Wintour at work in the God’s Love kitchen—Lucy and Ethel have nothing on us!” (Wintour would later suggest an amendment to the analogy: “Michael, I thought of us more like Beyoncé and Jay Z.“) Indeed, along with a cast of Condé Nast volunteers Kors and Wintour—Lucy and Ethel—prepared and packaged a record-breaking 1,200 meals in two hours for God’s Love recipients, and it was in this spirit that Kors announced his gift in Wintour’s honor. “I have never met anyone who has more of a roll up your sleeves and find a solution attitude than Anna Wintour and God’s Love is a roll up your sleeves and find a solution kind of organization. I personally think the Anna Wintour Volunteer Center has a very nice ring to it.”
A visibly moved Wintour began by thanking the legions of volunteers who make God’s Love the powerhouse organization that it has been and continues to be, “At the heart of the God’s Love mission is a nearly all volunteer force doing their amazing work day in and day out and this center will be a true testament to the spirit of the organization and to the dedicated volunteers like my incredible fellow honoree Richard Feldman, who has been working with God’s Love for over 25 years.”
Wintour stressed the importance of speaking up and being a vital and vocal part of a conversation that may otherwise not be had. “The worst thing you can do is not talk about something, it’s just a human instinct that one has to fight against, I know that I do and it’s one of the many, many things that Michael and Blaine [Trump] and everyone who supports God’s Love, thanks to their efforts countless men and women with HIV and other illnesses have realized that there are others in the same situation and they’re surrounded by people who can help.”
As Midler said earlier, “No one understands fashion and style better than Anna does and tonight she proves that nothing is more stylish than generosity—it goes with everything.” Particularly a wasp-waisted Michael Kors sheath dress.
Photos: GETTY Images