The epithet “star-studded” falls a few Milky Ways short of the mark for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s annual gala dinners, which began in 2014 and have quickly become a highlight of the French Riviera’s summer season. This year’s event arrives in St Tropez on Wednesday July 26, and will feature an auction of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and works by A-list artists to help fund the foundation’s fight against climate change and support of ocean and forest conservation.
Opening with cocktails and including a performance by Lenny Kravitz, the gala will be co-hosted by DiCaprio (expect a particularly vociferous keynote speech following President Trump’s plan to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord) and hopes to raise more than the $45 million achieved by the 2016 event. Tom Hanks, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Kate Winslet and Penélope Cruz will all be in attendance, as will Prince Albert II of Monaco (the auction will include a four-day cruise with the prince on ecological research ship Yersin) and guest of honour Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who will receive the foundation’s New World Leadership Award for her innovations in making the French capital a model for sustainable urban living and design.
Other once-in-a-lifetime experiences going under the hammer of Simon de Pury (bids can also be placed by phone and email) will include a seven-day adventure for two with activist explorer Johan Ernst Nilson (taking in two full days in Kenya with elephants and the world’s last northern white rhino, as well as time spotting cheetahs and lions in Cape Town), and a dinner for 30 at the Palace of Versailles.
There will also be artworks, curated by Lisa Schiff, from the likes of Frank Gehry, Damien Hirst, Sean Scully and Paul McCarthy (plus a special commission by Lawrence Weiner), jewellery from Tiffany & Co (including a gold and platinum elephant brooch with diamond ears and gemstone eyes) and Chopard, and – a lot that would certainly make for a memorable journey home – a 1963 Porsche 356 coupé signed by Hollywood stars including Sean Penn, Bradley Cooper, Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro.
“It is up to every concerned individual to be a champion for our shared planet,” says DiCaprio, who will reportedly fly commercially rather than by private jet to the event. “We can start by exponentially increasing the level of philanthropic giving to organisations that are defending our natural world, and calling on the global community to take action together.”