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AMFAR SOARS: Auction prices weren’t the only thing soaring at the amfAR gala in Milan Friday night. Temperatures in the venue also skyrocketed, leaving guests including Roberta Armani, Isabeli Fontana, Nora Arnezeder, Chanel Iman and Natasha Poly gasping for air. “I apologize for the heat,” amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole told the crowd gathered at the Permanente Museum. “Disrobing is an accepted form of behavior this evening.”

Fresh off launching an Escada fragrance in Barcelona, model Bar Refaeli was budding with projects. “I opened a lingerie company called Undies,” she said. “But my main project right now is Twitter. I’m addicted — it’s my best friend.”

This story first appeared in the September 28, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Rufus Wainwright, one of the evening’s performers, had just caught the premiere of “The Return of Ulysses” at the Teatro alla Scala, in a new production by Robert Wilson.

Heidi Klum reminisced about her first event with amfAR in Cannes a decade ago. “I was giving Kenneth Branagh a massage. He took his shirt off,” she recalled, before heading off to pose for pictures with Lindsay Lohan. The starlet, sporting bleached blonde hair, was in town for the Philipp Plein show, having inked an advertising deal with the brand.

The evening’s top lot was a private concert by John Legend, who gave potential bidders a taste of things to come with an impromptu performance of his hit song “Ordinary People,” and later joined Raphael Saadiq onstage for a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s “Ma Cherie Amour.”

It worked: Legend raised 400,000 euros, or $543,210 at current exchange, towards the evening’s total of 1.4 million euros ($1.9 million), a record for the Milanese edition of the event.

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