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VFDE 2014 Gala Dinner

For the second year, Vogue Italia’s Editor-In-Chief, Franca Sozzani, and Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman of real estate giant Emaar, threw a shindig of international proportions to celebrate the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience. Mixing Sozzani’s enviable guest list and Emaar’s production means, the gala dinner, which raised funds for the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP), made for one extravagant fete and a highlight of Dubai’s events season.

At the foot of the Burj Khalifa, facing the dancing Dubai Fountain, select VIPs—including Elisa Sednaoui, Scott Schuman (The Sartorialist), Philipp Plein, Elissa, Yousra, Andrea Incontri, Lily Cole, Liya Kebede, and members of the press specially flown in for the event—enjoyed a three-course meal and private concert under the moonlight. The event was hosted by Farida Khelfa, Schiaparelli’s brand ambassador and ‘80s top model-turned-filmmaker, who enjoys a strong fan base in the Arab world. After a discourse from Sozzani on the importance of giving back, Alabbar professed his admiration for the Editor in Chief and especially for her support of young designers. Ertharin Cousin, Executive director of the WFP, announced that the benefits from the gala would provide 4 million meals for people suffering from malnutrition.

Then, actress and singer Emannuelle Seigner—Mrs. Roman Polanski—opened the concert with rock-and-roll tunes sung in her heavy, oh-so-chic French accent. Seigner gave way to Lola Lennox (daughter of famed Eurythmics singer, Annie Lennox) and her powerful voice, but it took Tunisian singer Latifa Arfaoui to wake up the audience and truly start the party—notably by inviting model Karolina Kurkova to shake with her on stage. South African sensation Lira sang her hit “Something Inside (So Strong),” written as an homage to Nelson Mandela. After the entrées, French singer Soko made a shy appearance on stage, ending her depressing set with an “I’m so sorry I made you sad” while exiting the stage. But sadness wasn’t the mood for long, as singer Ciara hit the stage and performed a medley of Sade, Diana Ross, and her own hits (“Tonight is a night of love,” she declared). In between shouts of “Franca, I love you!” Ciara invited Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, Pucci’s Peter Dundas, Roberto Cavalli, Karolina Kurkova, Alberta Ferretti, Afef Jnifen, and Sozzani herself to dance with her on-stage during her hit “1, 2 Step.” Inevitably, much of the audience stood up for some Instagram opportunities.

After dessert, guests who were in a party mood all headed to Dubai’s Cavalli club to dance until the wee hours of the morning.

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