PARIS — Love was in the air at the Palais de Tokyo for Sidaction, the annual gala that has become the unofficial couture week closer.
The benefit was held for the first time Thursday at the contemporary art museum.
More from WWD
The popular show venue, most recently decked out in soft cream cushioned stadium seating for Armani Privé on Tuesday and a sleek mirrored and ochre-shaded runway for Elie Saab on Wednesday, was bathed in red and decorated with hearts by Thursday night to match the evening’s theme of “Love.”
Among the guests were Isabelle Huppert, Audrey Marnay, Marisa Berenson and Melanie Laurent as well as designers such as Julie de Libran, Coperni’s Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, Charles de Vilmorin, Alexandre Mattiussi, Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, Lisi Herrebrugh, Rushemi Botter, Sohee Park, Peet Dullaert, Arthur Robert, Jeanne Friot, Elie Top and Gauchere’s Marie-Christine Statz.
It was the first big night out in months for Lou Doillon, who was accompanied by Ami Paris designer Mattiussi. “We were lucky to adore each other for a long time, but finally collaborated together,” she said, having walked in his latest show presented during Paris Men’s Week.
The singer and actress has been away from Paris since the passing of her mother, Jane Birkin, last July. Along with her sister Charlotte Gainsbourg, the two have been working on a series of tributes to Birkin that will soon begin in Paris, followed by London and the U.S.
“[It’s] a lot of pressure and very complicated in the mind and the heart,” she said of planning the tributes for the legendary Birkin. “It’s very complicated. And my sister and I have children, and a life and career, so we’re learning all of this. It’s a lot of depression but at the same time so lovely to be still surrounded by her in a way, and people who love her. So it’s strange — like anyone, losing a mom isn’t simple, and that mom, you know.”
Doillon said she will return to performing with a concert in May, and her new film “Quasi a casa” is also expected to be released around that time. Doillon hinted at a Cannes debut for the film, but joked, “Wish us luck,” as the selection process is still underway with the official slate set to be announced in April.
Guests who arrived early, including French singer-songwriter Slimane who will represent France at the 2024 Eurovision with his tune “Mon Amour,” could indulge in pink vegetarian ravioli and heart-shaped canapes with their Champagne.
Monica Bellucci was in an Alexandre Vauthier ruched velvet gown for an occasion she would not have missed, given Sidaction’s mission to fight AIDS. “We are here to spread the word for people that need it,” she said, keeping focused on the good cause.
Vintage expert and collector Cameron Silver summed up the evening as a fitting closure to an indulgent week. “This is the perfect culmination of the couture and it adds a sense of philanthropy to justify our consumption,” he said.
He was both “satiated” by the latest round of collections and “ready for more.”
“But I can wait until February,” he joked, citing Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Schiaparelli and Valentino as collections that stood out. “You know I’m Switzerland — I love everybody.”
Silver said he has attended many Sidaction events and had to temper the expectations of new guests after a friend inquired about the agenda. “She was asking, ‘Is there dancing tonight?’ I go, ‘No, it’s not a Bar Mitzvah. This is Paris.’”
Marisa Berenson has been attending Sidaction since its inception. She was arm-in-arm with Top, and wearing both his vintage designs and pieces from her own jewelry line, which launched last year.
“It’s important to support this cause, because theres’s so many things going on in the world that people tend to forget,” she said. The model and actress has just started producing film and television, and said she has projects in the pipleine. “It is the other side of the business and it’s all evolving in a very interesting way.”
For Nine d’Urso, daughter of Inès de la Fressange, her turn as Cristóbal Balenciaga’s muse in the Disney+ series on the couturier had given her insight on the atelier and studio side. “I got to know something I thought I knew forever,” said the actress, who is shooting another series in Spain and will be on screens in June with “Hors du Temps,” a film set during lockdown by director Olivier Assayas.
For most, the night was an opportunity to unwind.
“It’s important because the fight continues…[and] it’s sweet, because it’s like everybody’s a bit less tense. A bit tired, but less tense,” Marnay said.
The fashion crowd was coming off two action-packed weeks that saw 69 official men’s shows plus a slew of presentations and parties, followed by another four days’ worth of couture and high jewelry.
This played right into the fundraising team’s hands.
“You’re tired, you’re drunk, so you should be generous,” joked journalist Daphné Bürki, who served as MC for the hotly awaited raffle and roasted the room to their greatest delight.
Prizes this year ranged from a full Dr. Barbara Sturm routine and a night at the Bulgari hotel to purses from Balenciaga, Loewe, Rabanne and Louis Vuitton.
Tickets flew out at a rapid clip and less than 20 minutes later, Bürki triumphantly announced: “It’s another time record.”
Organizers of the fundraiser, in partnership with the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, and hosted by Sidaction ambassador and artistic director Jean Paul Gaultier, also treated guests to a string ensemble’s rendition of Cher’s “Believe,” performed by French pop singer Janis.
Actor and designer Romain Brau gave a moving performance highlighting the plight of transgender people, while a poignant audio address came from French singer and Sidaction cofounder Line Renaud.
As colorful drawings by Niki de Saint Phalle and the words “Vive l’Amour” floated on the wall, Sidaction general manager Florence Thune said the feminist and antiracist artist’s work shone by its courage and modernity “at a time where discrimination against people living with AIDS persists, rejection of foreigners grows, gender-based violence reinforces itself.”
Though the evening marked the 30th anniversary of the Sidaction, Gaultier reminded the audience that this milestone “was a start but the fight’s not over.”
Launch Gallery: Inside Sidaction 2024 During Paris Couture Week
Best of WWD