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MS Event Raises $2.7 Million

CENTURY CITY, Calif. —  The worlds of music, Hollywood, society and Seventh Avenue combined for a sweet synergy Friday night at the 12th Annual Race to Erase MS, held at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel here. <BR><BR>The gala, the queen bee...

CENTURY CITY, Calif. —  The worlds of music, Hollywood, society and Seventh Avenue combined for a sweet synergy Friday night at the 12th Annual Race to Erase MS, held at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel here.

The gala, the queen bee of Los Angeles charities, attracted 1,300 guests and benefits philanthropist Nancy Davis’ Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease she has lived with for more than 20 years.

Event co-founder and co-chair Tommy Hilfiger and Davis devised this year’s theme, “Rock and Royalty,” to honor the influence musicians have had on fashion.

“There is royalty on the runway tonight with the celebrity models, but the royalty of rock ’n’ roll has been so trendsetting and inspired so many designers that it’s time we paid tribute to them,” said Hilfiger, adding: “We decided to create something in the form of great entertainment, too.”

He was referring not only to the runway show featuring plaid kilts, patent leather HotPants and spangled tunics designed exclusively for the event and worn by Carmen Electra, Nicole Richie, Sophia Bush and Tori Spelling, but also the post-dinner concert by Natalie Cole and Earth, Wind and Fire, which had the crowd on it’s feet until midnight. 

The night netted $2.7 million for MS research, including $950,000 raised in a silent and live auction. Two of the big-ticket items were trips to the fashion weeks in New York and Milan and a portrait shot by Karl Lagerfeld, which went to Giorgio Armani’s Wanda McDaniel for $17,000.

For her part, Davis, who brought along her six-month-old twin girls and wore a diamond tiara for the occasion, was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s amazing that people still want to come out. It’s a huge compliment to me and the work we are doing,” 

Among the evening’s guests, several of whom dressed to theme, were Anne Heche in a black leather Josephus Thimister gown and Natalie Cole in a split-skirt crystal-encrusted retro Fabrice gown. Virginia Madsen came in a pinstriped denim suit as an homage to her favorite rock band, The Rolling Stones. “As long as people don’t think I look like Elton John, it’s good,” she joked. But one creative couple decided to honor other British royalty and came dressed as Prince Charles and his new bride, Camilla.

This story first appeared in the April 27, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.