In New York, Financiers and Stars Are Back to Gala Business
(Bloomberg) -- John Griffin, the former hedge fund manager and Tiger cub, arrived at the Met Gala Monday night with his wife, Amy, founder of G9 Ventures, and took in the scene on the beige carpet.
Amanda Gorman was posing for photos in a blue gown and laurel headpiece, the poet’s riff on the Statue of Liberty. Actor Timothee Chalamet was showing off his Chuck Taylors to Instagram’s Eva Chen. Leon Bridges, the singer, was explaining his cowboy outfit to Keke Palmer (“I’m from Texas, I obviously don’t represent the politics there,” he said).
Griffin already had another event on his mind. “Robin Hood -- October 20,” he said, speaking of the fundraiser for the anti-poverty foundation.
And he hadn’t even seen Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress yet.
But Griffin is right to put the Robin Hood benefit in the same league as the Met Gala. It may not be quite the fashion parade or celebrity-spotting frenzy, but for years it has raised much more money. And its star power is pretty potent.
“They’re both great, in different ways,” said Griffin, Robin Hood’s chairman. “They’re a part of New York culture,” his wife added.
This year’s Robin Hood benefit co-chairs are Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian (who also attended this year’s Met Gala, with Ohanian wearing an NFT on his lapel), along with Rachel and Neil Blumenthal, Audrey and Danny Meyer and John Sykes.
Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live is host. And Alicia Keys (also a Met Gala guest) will perform, along with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and the Jonas Brothers.
Proof of vaccination is required, and so are masks, except when eating and drinking, while the crowd will also be reduced from 2019’s record attendance of about 4,000 people.
Maybe this is the place for Ocasio-Cortez to wear that dress again, and engage in conversations about helping working families, which was one of the explanations she offered for her fashion choice.
“Our neighbors are still facing record rates of food insecurity, rising homelessness, deepening educational divides and sustained rates of high unemployment,” Robin Hood spokeswoman Courtney Ridgway said. “100% of funds raised at our annual benefit go directly to the most impactful poverty-fighting programs across all five boroughs.”
The Met Gala was a finale to New York Fashion Week, and marked the week Broadway reopened, as well as falling just two days after the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Robin Hood benefit also has a special date on the calendar. It falls on the 20th anniversary of the Concert for New York City that Robin Hood Foundation held at Madison Square Garden after 9/11 -- a night engraved in people’s memory as a step toward the city’s recovery, raising more than $30 million.
“It’s no coincidence,” Ridgway said of the date of the benefit. “It’s time for New York City’s next comeback.”
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