The first Love Ball was held on Valentine’s Day 2008 at Tsaritsino Estate, Moscow.
This unprecedented media event combined the atmosphere of 19th century imperial balls and the impeccable style of world-famous social events.
One of the Ball’s most distinctive features was a unique Ice Palace, constructed especially for the event. It was built using 220 tons of ice and located at the heart of the 16th century Tsaritsino Estate.
A ceremonial dinner and auction brought together leading businesspeople, celebrities and the fashion elite. Lucy Liu, Valentino, Eva Herzigova, Natalie Imbruglia, Mikhail Kusnirovich, Andrei Shevchenko, Dasha Zhukova and Nikita Mikhailkov were among the guests.
A large number of wonderful, unique lots were presented and sold at the auction:
A bespoke tuxedo hand-tailored by fashion legend Giorgio Armani, a trip to Milan and front-row seats the designer’s fashion show. Andrei Shevchenko, Chelsea FC footballer and face of Armani, introduced the lot, which sold for €110,000.
“The Love Song”
A private performance by rock star Bryan Adams anywhere in the world. The lot was introduced by Bryan Adams himself via satellite link from London and was bought for €90,000.
“The Moroccan Adventure“
A trip to explore the magical culture of Morocco from the Royal Palace in Marrakech, as the personal guest of HRH Princess Lalla Hasna. The lot was introduced by the Royal Ensemble of Moroccan Drummers and sold for €220,000.
A unique opportunity to name a newly discovered species of orchid in honour of a loved one, donated by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. The lot was acquired by Rustam Tariko, President of Russian Standard, for €320,000. A portion of the funds pledged went to Kew Gardens.
An exclusive shoot with supermodels Eva Herzigova and Natalia Vodianova for British Vogue by world-famous photographer Mario Testino. The lot was introduced by the photographer and the models themselves, and raised €450,000 for the NHF.
“The Love Bed”
A prototype bed by designer Philippe Starck, including an exclusive collection of silk and cashmere fabrics and eel pillows by Calvin Klein. The lot sold for €50,000 to Alexander Vinokurov of the Naked Heart’s general partner KIT Finance.
“The “Antoinetta” Dress”
Valentino’s final haute couture masterpiece, a wedding dress named “Antoinetta” that crowned the grand finale show of his career. The lot was presented by the Bolshoi’s celebrated Prima Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova and sold for €600,000.
A unique work entitled “Love is All Around” by the world’s most renowned living artist, Damien Hirst. Actress Lucy Liu introduced the painting, which sold for €1.2 million, the largest bid of the evening.
“The Ultimate Oscars for Two”
An opportunity to mingle with the stars at the Oscar ceremony dressed by LA celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, enjoy a picnic at Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg’s mansion in Beverly Hills and celebrate with the Oscar winners at the Vanity Fair After-Party, one of the planet’s most exclusive events. The lot, donated by Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Graydon Carter, Andre Balazs, Rachel Zoe, Hugh Heffner and Universal Studios, sold for €200,000.
“I Love Paris”
The ultimate luxury long weekend in Paris, including four nights as Diane von Furstenberg’s guest at her stylish Parisian home, donated by Diane von Furstenberg, la Maison Louis Vuitton and le Bristol. The lot was introduced by French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seignier and her band Ultra Orange, and sold for €160,000.
Natalia Vodianova sat on giant jockey scales on stage to present this lot, which consisted of her body weight in rare vintages that had been kindly donated by Baron Eric de Rothschild, owner of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. The selection comprised four of the finest vintages of the last hundred years from Lafite Rothschild: 1982, 1990, 2000 and 2005.
An 11-carat Candlelight diamond, one of the most romantic and historical diamond shapes, provided by W Nagel of London and cut in Smolensk, Russia, the birthplace of some of the finest cut diamonds in the world. The lot was presented by Adam Nagel and sold for €400,000.
“The Open Auction ‘Be a Hero'”
To the pulsating beat of David Bowie’s hit “Heroes”, guests rose one by one to commit $1,000 each to the creation of an entire play park. The results of this generosity were displayed on the centre screen, where each new element of the play park was highlighted once enough money had been pledged to fund it. In less than five minutes, the entire play park was lit up, encouraging one of the British guests to pledge an additional $300,000 for a second park.
As a result of this event $5 million were raised, allowing the construction of 33 play parks and playgrounds.
The general partner of Love Ball 2008 was KIT Finance. Other sponsors were Calvin Klein, Euphoria, Imperia Vodka, Eventica, Christie’s, The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow Garage No. 1 and Private Office.