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Anyone who ever questioned Francois-Henri Pinault’s affections for his wife Salma Hayek, consider this: the ultra environmentalist actress got her hubby to give up his beloved Aston Martin for a Lexus hybrid. “This was, like, years ago, when I first was dating him,” Hayek said Thursday before an auction at Christie’s. “He did it on his own, immediately. I saw the Aston Martin, then it was gone. He said, ‘I changed it for a hybrid.’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is my kind of guy.’” That wasn’t the end of it, though. Pinault said he also founded the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights thanks to his spouse’s influence.
The eco-conscious power couple were one of several boldfaced names at Christie’s that evening for its first annual Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth, held in honor of Earth Day. Known conservationists including Ted Danson, Sam Waterston and Candice Bergen joined socials including Renee Rockefeller, Anne Grauso, Ghislaine Maxwell and Lizzie Tisch in raising money and visibility for four groups: Central Park Conservancy, Conservation International, Natural Resource Defense Council and Oceana.
Raising money proved a challenge, however, during the auction. Chevy Chase (who founded the Center for Environmental Education with his wife Jayni) was hilarious as emcee, but pretty ineffectual when it came to encouraging the wealthy in the room to dig deep into their pockets. He did his best, donating $25,000 to Central Park Conservancy during a “paddle raiser,” but several of the lots, including a 12-day luxury trip to Bali and the opportunity to place your child in a BabyGap ad, went for half or less of their estimated values.
The artwork fared better. Damien Hirst’s “All You Need is Jealousy” went for $92,000; Daphne Guinness won her best friend David LaChapelle’s “Rape of Africa” for $45,000 and Aby Rosen (with counsel from pal Tico Mugrabi) bid aggressively on Kenny Scharf’s “Sprungle” only to lose it to another bidder for $80,000. The most heated sale came towards the end, when an afternoon of golf with President Clinton was sold for $80,000, $55,000 above the published value.
Afterwards, guests collected some last minute nibbles from caterer Rouge Tomate before walking over to Monkey Bar for a La Mer-sponsored after party. There, waitresses proffered spoonfuls of Crème de la Mer on silver platters. But that wasn’t enough to keep guests from nicking the small pots of the pricy lotion that were scattered about as decoration.