Angel Ball Raises $3.7 Million in Star-Studded Cipriani Gala

Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Denise Rich and Kris Jenner
All photos courtesy Getty Images

The Angel Ball held its annual gala celebrating 20 years on Monday November 21, 2016 at Cipriani Wall Street with cocktails beginning at 6 PM. This event is one of the premiere social evenings in New York with over 900 people flying in from all over the world to attend this annual happening. Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research was started in 1996 by Denise Rich, to commemorate the death of her daughter Gabrielle from Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 27.

Gala Chair Lorraine Schwartz and Ofira Sandberg

In the past 20 years it has funded more than $27 million in grants with eighty-five cents of every dollar directly funding research. The night’s Gala Chairs were jeweler Lorraine Schwartz, Ofira Sandberg and Camilla Olsson. Anticipation for the evening was great as it was rumored that Kim Kardashian would be making a surprise appearance to pay homage to her late father, Robert Kardashian, who was being honored posthumously. Unfortunately, Kim’s husband, Kanye, was hospitalized and we were forced to settle for Kourtney, Khloe and Kris who appeared in dazzling sheer attire allowing photographers to obtain the money shots they had been anxiously awaiting.

Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and  Kris Jenner,

As I entered the cocktail party, I bumped into Montel Williams who notified me that he and his wife were studying Kabbalah and had recently visited Israel for the Succot holiday.  Montel was looking fit and fabulous and despite his MS diagnosis said he was feeling better than ever due to a medical device he was applying that was being tested in medical trials and had been used to treat traumatic brain injury. Montel said this device could help patients dealing with Parkinson’s and any other neurological disease afflicting millions of Americans. Montel’s health regimen also includes a high emulsification diet with lots of coconut water and vitamins and daily workouts all contributing to his youthful, svelte appearance belying his 60 years of age.

Guests hold candles during the 2016 Angel Ball

Other attendees at the dinner contributing in the fight against fatal diseases included lead scientist Vladislav Sandler, whose company Hemogynis was trying to change the way we deal with blood cancers by creating medications that enable patients to forego radiation and chemotherapy. The company which is privately held, was about to go public and was still doing animal testing to confirm the promising results.

Corey Gamble, Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Hilfiger

Enough with all this serious stuff: it was now time for fun as guests such as Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugh Jackman, Star Jones, Clive Davis, Jonathan Cheban, Jason Binn, Sarah Ferguson, dozens of Victoria’s Secret models and every socialite in New York City, filled the enormous space. The depth of the crowd was mind boggling: there was one table that seated nightclub impresarios Ronnie Madra, and Richie Akiva along with their fixtures Helly Nahmad and Eli Mizrahi.

L-R Monica Podell, DJ Cassidy, DJ Ruckus, Shanina Shaik and Jonathan Cheban

Standing nearby was Jonathan Cheban, Kim’s best friend, who raised the glamour quotient in a daring Ann Demeulemeester and Vivienne Westwood ensemble-this man knows fashion.  There was also royalty in the house with Jazmin Grimaldi, daughter of Prince Albert, and Princess Eugenie of York gracing the event with beauty and elegance with Grimaldi wearing a sexy J. Mendel number accompanied by boyfriend Ian Mellencamp, nephew of John Cougar.

Inga Rubenstein, Shanina Shaik and Nadejda Savcova

While Victoria’s Secret models such as Shanina Shaik, Toni Garrn, and Cindy Bruna flitted around, their photographer, the dashing Russell James, spoke of his start with Victoria’s Secret (VS) twenty years ago after being approached by VS President Ed Razek who admired James’ work with Stephanie Seymour and his iconic Tyra Banks Sports Illustrated dotted bikini cover.

Ian Mellencamp

James has the countenance of an Australian movie star and was looking forward to attending the Paris show in the next week where he will photograph the VS girls from the minute they get on the plane culminating with the VS show days later.  James brings a crew of 8 with him and works non-stop during this three-to-four day period.  While James seems rather nonchalant about this highly glamorous job, I was in awe of his professionalism and obvious talent-traits he shares with his partner Donna Karan.

Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and Princess Beatrice of York

As 7:30 PM struck, the crowd was told by the throngs of security that it was time to sit for dinner.  Sarah Ferguson began the evening by complimenting her dear friend Denise Rich for acting as a “global mother.”  Sarah looked elegant and svelte in a delightful Roland Mouret dress and was gracious when I grabbed her dress from a potential stepping on.

Grace Bol

The dinner’s honorees included cancer immunotherapist Carl H. June, M.D., Heloise Pratt, Chair of the Pratt Foundation, and the late Robert Kardashian.  Heloise Pratt, who was introduced by Sir Bob Geldof, said that she “was shitting herself” from this honor-a comment only someone with a British accent could get away with.  She also revealed that she had suffered from a rare type of cancer making this charity near and dear to her heart.

Kris Jenner speaks onstage

When it was time for Kris Jenner to accept the award, Tommy Hilfiger introduced her as someone who knew how to expertly brand her children but who had charity at her core.  Kris entered the stage defensively exclaiming “are you guys laughing?” She then began crying as she recounted her ex-husband, Robert, “who raised her since the age of 17” and his and her mother’s struggle with cancer. She said that Robert taught her the value of giving back despite the public’s impression to the contrary, and that the Kardashians give back quietly. However, tonight she donated aloud, as she tearfully handed a $250,000 check to the Angel charity, with daughters Khloe and Kourtney standing nearby.

Model Ingrid Vandebosch and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon

Garnering more funds for the charity was auctioneer Simon de Pury who raised $85,000 for 18k blackened gold and purple Lorraine Schwartz earrings, modeled by Shanina Shaik, and $140,000 for an exclusive Porsche Panamera Turbo. After all this excitement, we were treated to performances by CeeLo Green, Dave Stewart and Earth Wind and Fire with the crowd dancing and singing along enthusiastically. DJ Ruckus then concluded the evening with some modern hits as the crowd headed to Omar’s for an exclusive after party.

Cheryl Britto and Romero Britto

Upon leaving, I was given a black leather knapsack that contained goodies such as cookies, peanut butter cups and popcorn. The night which raised nearly $3.7 million was a tremendous success; for $1,500 a head we were treated to one of those unforgettable evenings that had just the right melange of entertainment, meaningfulness, and variety making this the go-to event of the season.

– Lieba Nesis

Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

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