Shapewear Tank Tops Getty ImagesOn Tuesday night, UNITAS, an NGO working to eradicate human trafficking, threw their second annual fundraising gala at Capitale on Bowery. Helmed by Mo Stojnovic, who once bought a Jeff Koons sculpture called Gazing Ball (Charity) for 4 million dollars at a Project Perpetual event, UNITAS scheduled this party smack dab in the middle of fashion week with the hope that a beautiful crowd will attract the deep-pocketed.
Arm Shaper This strategy seemed to work: glamorous attendees last night included the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio (who eschewed photographers), fashion week ubiquitor Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Andreja Pejic, who looked otherworldly in a slippery silver dress. Inside, things got into full swing with practiced ease. After a few preliminary speeches and two rounds of appetizers which nobody touched, the auction began. In quick succession, a portrait of David Bowie was sold for $40,000, a pair of Victoria's Secret angels garnered $50,000 for a "private fashion show" ("C'mon now, it's beautiful girls in lingerie!"), and Lee Jaffe's extensive collection of Basquiat paintings and prints went for a cool $75,000.
After a brief intermission, the grand finale commenced: Ai Weiwei's 2015 piece Handcuffs, which is 3.5 x 11.5 inches long and made out of jade, was placed gingerly on the auction block. After a fierce bidding war punctuated by aging white men in expensive suits trash-talking each other genially across the echoing ballroom, the elegant pair of cuffs changed hands for $150,000.
With the main event over, many attendees seemed restless and the opulent room began to empty. (At the press table, twelve empty seats had been vacant for the entire evening - dutifully smiling waiters placed slabs of filet mignon at every place setting anyway.) As 11 o'clock came and went, Captain America: The Winter Soldier actor Sebastian Stan grew increasingly absorbed in the conversation he was having with his equally handsome neighbor. Onstage, the neo-soul musician Maxwell was jamming enthusiastically, interspersing each song with a little monologue meant to bring the guests' attention back to the reason why the gala was being held in the first place. "There's always a stigma, always a shame," he crooned, referring to the exploitation of trafficking victims. "A part of them that's never gonna be the same."