After a brief honeymoon in Paris, the singer touched base in Italy to give her first performance as Mrs. Affleck at the LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF charity gala. Hosted at the island’s historic Certosa di San Giacomo location, the event aimed to raise funds for UNICEF projects across the world, this year focusing on the Ukrainian and Syrian emergencies.
The sixth iteration of the LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF gala was the biggest yet, in terms of expectations and attendance. Saturday’s event boasted around 900 guests, including celebrities Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Casey Affleck, Jared Leto, Spike Lee, Haim and Ansel Elgort, among many others.
Italian fashion executives couldn’t miss the soirée either — Gucci’s president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri, Moncler’s chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini, and Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle were seen at the event, along with Roberta Benaglia, founding partner and chief executive officer of the Style Capital SGR private equity firm that has stakes in LuisaViaRoma, along with brands MSGM, Zimmerman, Re/Done and Forte Forte. A plethora of top models, influencers and TikTok-ers spearheaded by social media sensation Khaby Lame added to the crowd, which coped with the hot weather and sweat to see Mrs. Lopez Affleck in action.
“I’ve known her for over 20 years and she’s electric, and it’s an amazing time for her,” said Michael Kors arriving at the event. “We’re happy about her wedding, she just had her birthday, I’m having my birthday, it’s the Leo time of the year. I know she’ll electrify the entire island.”
Asked if he had a personal favorite JLo song, the designer said “Well, I’m from New York — so ‘Jenny from the Block.’ That’s it!”
The 2002 hit song was the go-to choice for many other guests, too, including Ashley Park, whose towering Maison Valentino platforms, matching the brand’s white minidress she picked for the event, didn’t stop her moves or slow her excitement in the leadup to the performance.
Following a lengthy seated dinner and live auction of luxury items and fancy experiences presented by Simon de Pury, Lopez took the stage past midnight, with a 30-minute performance offering a medley of hit songs with a rich side of choreography, light effects and outfit changes.
For the occasion, Lopez opted for Roberto Cavalli custom looks designed by Fausto Puglisi, including an animal-printed top with crystal details and pants embellished with feathers. These came with a matching billowy cape, soon traded for a show-stopping alternative in voluminous proportions.
Yet the notorious “block” was left behind this time around, as Lopez favored other key hits, such as “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting for Tonight,” to open the show.
Bedecked in a custom Michael Kors sequined number, Vanessa Hudgens had no complaints about the musical selections, as she pointed to the latter tune as her own favorite. “It’s a classic and the music video is so iconic,” she said, adding “I’m just so happy to see her and so excited for her and her new marriage.”
“I just love all of them, it’s hard to choose!” echoed actress Nathalie Emmanuel, who looked chic in a mauve Alberta Ferretti dress. “The last proper music kind of viewing I had before the pandemic was the halftime show at the Super Bowl, so I’m so ready to see JLo doing her thing, I’m one of her biggest fans,” added Emmanuel.
During her performance, Lopez further won over the audience paying tribute to other iconic female artists, singing hits such as, “I’m Every Woman” and “I Will Survive.” She then ended the show on a high, electro-dance note with her songs “Dance Again” and “On the Floor,” for which she slipped into a nude catsuit with sparkly details.
Her energy was matched only by Jamie Foxx, who throughout the night served as the perfect host of the gala, both when introducing institutional moments and hyping up the crowd, as he roamed across the tables or kept the momentum high after JLo’s show by taking control of the DJ booth. One moment he surprisingly convinced British Vogue editor in chief Edward Enninful to join him in standing on a table, and in the next gave his pal DiCaprio the biggest shoutout of the night, disrupting the live auction in the process.
“There’s a wolf in the building tonight,” Foxx said on the mic. “The best actor of our time, of our generation. His very name, DiCaprio is from here… He’s very shy but let me tell you something, from the bottom of my heart, and this has nothing to do with the show, he’s the most solid, and beautiful, and talented individual we have ever seen in our era,” said Foxx, while DiCaprio continued to keep a low profile, further hiding himself under a black baseball cap.
“He has an auction [item] that he’s auctioning off,” continued Foxx, detailing the opportunity for a winning bidder and a guest to attend the premiere of DiCaprio’s upcoming movie “Killers of the Flower Moon,” directed by Martin Scorsese and also starring Robert De Niro.
“It will be selfie heaven with these three stars,” said De Pury to incite higher and higher bids, eventually banging the gavel at a 200,000-euro offer.
Other highlights of the auction — which at the end of the night collected around 8 million euros to donate to UNICEF — included a 2011 photograph of Claudia Schiffer lensed by Ellen von Unwerth, a painting by 10-year-old artist Andres Valencia and Refik Anadol’s “AI Data Painting,” which made for one of the most sought-after lots and was sold for 1.7 million euros.
Meanwhile, Karolína Kurková helped selling 19.3-carat yellow diamond earrings, Casey Affleck introduced the bid for a 1969 “Easy Rider” studio motorcycle from the iconic Oscar-nominated movie, while Hudgens and Ed Westwick increasingly cheered as the auction of Richard Burton’s 1973 Mercedes-Benz car progressively led to a 900,000 euro offer.
Hudgens is a regular at LuisaViaRoma’s Capri event, having attended also previous editions of the gala. Yet this time felt different for the actress, she said. “I brought my sister and it’s her first time, so it’s been really fun showing her around,” she said. Earlier this week, Hudgens was seen touching base also in Forte dei Marmi, but her Italian tour will come to an end after the glamorous weekend, she said with bitterness as she defined the Bel paese her favorite country.
The same goes for Emmanuel, who spent “lovely weeks” visiting Fiuggi and “hanging out in Rome a little bit, taking in the history.” Shortly after heading back to England, she will travel to New York to promote her upcoming movie “The Invitation,” also starring Thomas Doherty.
Wrapped in a Giambattista Valli white gown, Sofia Carson was on cloud nine for the reception of her film “Purple Hearts,” which was released on Netflix on the eve of the gala and quickly ranked number one in the global list of movies on the platform.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “This was like nothing I’ve ever done before, not only as an actress but I also came in as an executive producer and I wrote the soundtrack as well, so it was like stepping into a new stage of my career and I feel so grateful that Netflix trusted in me to be in this position.”
In the romantic drama, Carson plays Cassie, a struggling singer-songwriter who agrees with a marine named Luke — played by actor Nicholas Galitzine — to marry solely for mutual military benefits, until a sudden tragedy doesn’t change the scenario.
“It was one of the most beautiful journeys of my life and the most beautiful honor to be Cassie. I’m just so happy that the world is falling in love with this story as much as I loved making it,” said Carson.
This was the artist’s second time at a LuisaViaRoma for UNICEF gala, but first in Capri, as she performed at the inaugural edition of the format. The first two events were hosted in Sardinia before the concept was relocated to Capri.
In the past, the gala was complemented by shows by John Legend and Katy Perry, British electronic music band Clean Bandit and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, as well as Rita Ora, Ricky Martin and Ellie Goulding. Last December, the retailer hosted also the seminal winter edition of the event in St. Barth, headlined by a performance of Dua Lipa.
“I’m not a lover of repetition, I like to surprise so let’s see, we remain open to consider also other locations in the future,” said LuisaViaRoma’s chairman Andrea Panconesi about the summer gala. “But the truth is that it’s difficult to compete with Capri. It’s the quintessence of the Italian style and we want to represent the best of Italy in the world.”