By  on November 9, 2007

L'Oréal Paris and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund gave casual Angelenos a reason to dress up — and open their wallets — Wednesday night with a silent auction and reception that added another $350,000 to an already fruitful decadelong partnership.

A crowd of 300 at the "Night of Hope," including hosts L'Oréal Paris president Carol Hamilton, Harper's Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey and L'Oréal spokeswomen Diane Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington, sipped Champagne and gazed at the multicolored chandeliers adorning the venue, Murano Restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif. They mingled between items up for bid, many of which were placed throughout several rooms in illuminated clear plastic display cases.

MacDowell, who chose a deep purple Vivienne Westwood gown for the occasion, couldn't take her eyes off a Max Studio dress donated by designer Leon Max and his wife, Ame Austin, and valued, along with boots and a gift certificate, at $1,000. "I will arm-wrestle someone to the ground because I want it that bad," she warned half-jokingly.

Hamilton has treated the fund-raising events for OCRF almost as shopping excursions and, with Vera Wang, Chanel, Roberto Cavalli and Louis Vuitton among those donating goods, why not? For the evening, Hamilton was outfitted in a strapless pink Carolina Herrera number she picked up in 2005 and was vying for a teal taffeta and satin Donna Karan gown in a svelte size 4 to possibly wear at a subsequent Legends Gala in New York.

"I am one of the few women who will buy a dress they haven't tried on," mused Hamilton just before running to bid again on the dress after being told someone outmatched her by $100. "I have bid so much, you have no idea," she said in a mad dash.

L'Oréal Paris and OCRF have raised in excess of $13 million since they originally paired up in 1997. After a predecessor event called the Millennium Dresses Gala was held in 1999, the duo in 2002 threw the first Legends Gala, which netted $2.8 million for medical research last year, and made an initial biannual stop in Los Angeles two years ago to the tune of $250,000.

Hamilton, who spent a mere 24 hours in Los Angeles before heading back east, declared the speedy trip was worthwhile to galvanize West Coast efforts to help fight ovarian cancer. "The turnout is wonderful...and really shows how much the industry, how much L.A. and how much our celebrity partners are supporting the cause," she said. "And it is a great party, too."Elizabeth Howard, chief executive officer of OCRF, had a simple wish for the next fund-raiser: "Hopefully, a lot of progress will be made by then."

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