The Love Ball

Love Ball, a charity fundraising gala evening organised by Eventica in support of Natalia Vodianova's Naked Heart Foundation, succeeded in raising almost US$6 million for disadvantaged children across Russia. 100% of the funds raised - an unprecedented amount for a Russian charity event - will go to realise the Foundation's aim of building specialist children's play parks throughout Russia. The evening took place with the generous support of Russian investment bank KIT Finance.

The Love Ball took place on 14 February 2008, at the Tsaritsino Palace Estate in Moscow, and was attended by more than 400 celebrity and VIP guests from around the world.

The following were amongst the guests of The Love Ball: Valentino; Eva Herzigova; Natalie Imbruglia; Lucy Liu; Mario Testino; Diane von Furstenberg; Andrei Shevchenko; Natalia Vodianova and her husband Justin Portman; Alexander Vinokurov, KIT Finance; Dmitry Peskov, Russian President's Press Spokesman; Sergei Kolushev, Eventica; Nikita Mikhalkov, film director, and his wife Tatiana Mikhalkova; Roustam Tariko, Founder and President of Russian Standard Vodka; designers Aliona Akhmadullina, Denis Simachev, Igor Chapurin, Dasha Zhukova, Elena Yarmak and Gyunel Boateng; Natalia Sindeeva, Silver Rain radio; Olga Slutsker, World Class; Irina Kudrina, Northern Crown; Andrei Melnichenko, MDM Group; Mark Dunhill, Fabergé; Mikhail Kusnirovich, Bosco; Alexander Lebedev, National Reserve Corporation; Dan Rapoport, CentreInvest Securities; Arkady Novikov, Restaurateur; Moty Spector, Vivid Collection; Asya Webster, jewellery designer; Sergei Ploastinin, Wimm Bill Dann; Svetlana Zakharova, Prima Ballerina, Bolshoi Ballet; Veronika Belotserkovskaya, publisher; Irina Volskaya, Prime Concept; Georgiy Antyufeev, Moscow Committee for Tourism; Olga Rodionova, actress; Tusi Chogovadze, MMSII; Polina Kitsenko, Podium; Svetlana Maniovich, businesswoman; Valentin and Tatiana Yumashev; TV personalities Ekaterina Andreeva, Sati Spivakova, Andrei Malakhov and Ksenia Sobchak; Aliona Doletskaya, Vogue Russia; Kirill Dybskiy, Itogi; Ellen Verbeek, Robb Report; Derk Sauer, Independent Media; Shakhri Amirkhanova; Maxim Kashulinsky, Forbes; Nikolai Uskov, GQ; Anzor Kankulov, Harper's Bazaar; Irina Mikhailovskaya, Elle; Elena Vasilieva, Cosmopolitan ; Svetlana Kolchik, Marie Claire - and many others.

Natalia Vodianova, Founder and President of the Naked Heart Foundation, said:

"I want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of The Love Ball. From the very outset of our preparations for the event, I did not for one moment doubt the generous spirit of the Russian business community. For us, the thing that was of crucial importance was that all participants in the event - the organisers, the artists, the auctioneers, even the presenter of the evening, Andrei Malakhov - they all offered their services to the project without asking for anything in return. The results of the evening and the funds raised at the auction exceeded even our most ambitious expectations. I do hope that our Ball becomes something of a tradition. As for the money that has been raised - in a very short time we will be working on the designs for new play parks in Petrozavodsk, Saransk and Nizhnevartovsk. In total this year, we are planning to create not less than eight play parks for Russian children."

The Love Ball would not have been possible without the support of investment bank KIT Finance, the General Partner of the event.

Re-creating the atmosphere of grandiose 18th Century Catherine the Great-era society balls, The Love Ball was a unique event for our times. 220 tons of ice was used to construct the `Ice Palace', built especially for the event at Tsaritsino, whilst the latest light technology from Great Britain was employed to highlight the stunning architectural and natural surroundings. In the words of Natalia Vodianova herself "the organisers' wonderful concept to construct an enormous Ice Palace here in Moscow is a revival of the all-but-forgotten tradition of the glittering and sumptuous charity balls, which were once widespread in Imperial Russia."

The aims of the Love Ball were to present the Naked Heart Foundation to a predominantly Russian audience in Russia, to raise funds for the construction of play parks throughout the Russian Federation, and in addition to these, to further nurture the developing concept of philanthropy in Russia.

The organiser of The Love Ball, in support of the Naked Heart Foundation, is event organiser Eventica. Sergei Kolushev, Managing Director, Eventica, commented: "For a long time, the organisation of charity events in Russia was considered a thankless, even hopeless, task. When in April 2007, during the Russian Rhapsody gala event at the Russian Economic Forum in London, we raised US$1.5 million for charity, many sceptics put the success down to the fact that the event was held in London. It is precisely because of this that the success of The Love Ball in Moscow is so important not only for the establishment of charity in Russia, but also for the image of Russian business. Here, representatives of the Russian business establishment have demonstrated powerfully that they are prepared not only to `take' - but also to `give back', through their efforts and their funds, for the good of society as a whole."

Russian Standard's Imperia Vodka was an Official Partner of The Love Ball. Roustam Tariko, Founder and President, Russian Standard Vodka and also a Member of the Advisory Committee of the Naked Heart Foundation, said: "The work of Natalia Vodianova to help children inspires us all. Let us all follow Natalia's example, and help to ensure a bright future for the talented children of Russia."

Guests were delivered to Tsaritsino in the supreme comfort of limousines provided by Garage No 1, the official automobile partner of the event. The Love Ball began with a Champagne Reception lit by hundreds of glimmering candles in the surrounds of the Catherine Hall of Tsaritsino Palace. Guests had the opportunity to view the exclusive collection of jewel-encrusted mobile telephones from Vertu's Signature Diamond range.

Following the Reception, guests were invited to cross the specially-constructed bridge from Tsaritsino Palace to the Ice Palace, floodlit in icy blue light. Ladies in an array of stunning couture dresses were led across the bridge by their black-tie clad partners under gently falling snow, to the accompaniment of the camera flashes of a hundred photo-journalists. In the bitter Moscow cold, guests were given traditional Russian shawls to protect them as they walked from Palace to Ice Palace.

The opening address of the Ball was delivered by Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Russia, Aliona Doletskaya, who introduced guests to the host of the event - supermodel and founder of the Naked heart Foundation, Natalia Vodianova - as `the national pride of Russia'.

Natalia Vodianova led guests through the activities of the Foundation, and introduced the unique auction lots that would go on sale during the evening to raise much-needed funds to build play parks in Russia. Natalia speech was followed by a film about the Foundation, produced by TV journalist - and friend of Natalia - Andrei Loshak. As the film ended, Natalia declared The Love Ball open and the stage was filled by ballerinas from the Bolshoi Ballet with a performance of the `Polonaise' from Eugene Onegin.

The evening's compere, well-known TV presenter Andrei Malakhov then took to the stage to introduce the auctioneers, Hugh Edmeades, International Chairman of Christie's and Sandra Nedvedskaya, Christie's Representative in Russia.

The core event of the evening was the charity auction of exclusive lots, all specially contributed for The Love Ball, and all of which are unobtainable by any other means. All funds raised during the auction would go directly to the Naked Heart Foundation for the sole purpose of constructing more play parks in Russia. The cost of the construction of a single play park is between US$200,000 to US$400,000; the parks are equipped with ultra-modern facilities and adhere to all international safety standards. The Foundation selects the location of each park, produces designs, implements construction and monitors each stage of the process from conception to opening. Today, thanks to the efforts of the Naked Heart Foundation, there are already five children's play parks in Russia - in the Nizhegorodskaya and Kemerovsky Regions and in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Republic.

The Love Ball Charity Auction

The Suit

Andrei Shevchenko, footballer (Chelsea FC) and `Face of Armani', introduced the first lot of the evening - a tuxedo by Giorgio Armani.
The lot sold for 110,000 euros.

The Love Song

Express your love with a private performance by rock star Bryan Adams who will at his earliest convenience meet up with you and your loved one anywhere in the world for the serenade of a lifetime.
The lot was introduced by Bryan Adams himself by satellite link from London and was bought by Polina Kitsenko (Podium boutique) for 90,000 euros.

The Silent Auction

A magical 11 carat light fancy yellow cushion shaped diamond (known as the 'candlelight' diamond). The cushion shape is one of the most romantic and historical diamond shapes since the diamond first became the eternal and universal symbol of love. This fabulous diamond, provided by W Nagel London, the international diamond experts, has been cut by master craftsmen in Smolensk in Russia, the birthplace of some of the finest cut diamonds in the world.

The lot was kindly presented by Adam Nigel, and was acquired by an anonymous bidder for 400,000 euros.

The Moroccan Adventure

A honeymoon in the Royal Palace in Marrakesh.

The lot was contributed by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa and was introduced by an exotic ensemble of Moroccan Drummers. The lot was bought by Alexander Lebedev for 220,000 euros.

The Orchid

For the first time in its history The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew of London have kindly donated the unique opportunity to name a recently discovered species of orchid. This is a very rare chance to name an entirely new species of flower in honor of a loved one, your family or to remember someone special.

The lot was acquired by Roustam Tariko, Founder and President, Russian Standard Vodka, for 320,000 euros. Mr. Tariko announced that the orchid, discovered in the Madagascan jungle in 2007, would be named `Aliona', after the buyer's partner. A portion of the funds pledged for this lot will go to Kew Gardens.

The Love Bed

An incredible opportunity to own a prototype by the world famous designer Philippe Starck. The love bed is Mr. Starck's vision of the perfect bed for all uses including sleep. Usually these prototype works are dedicated only for museums but by great generosity, it is offered here to benefit the Naked Heart Foundation and to be privately owned. The bed is dressed in an exclusive collection of hand made silk bedding, Eel Pillows and cashmere blanket by Calvin Klein.

The lot was obtained by Natalia Sindeeva, producer of the `Silver Rain' radio station, for 50,000 euros.

Following the bidding for this lot, Natalia Vodianova took to the stage to express her thanks to investment bank KIT Finance - and personally to Alexander Vinokurov - the General Partner of The Love Ball.

The Photo Shoot

Be in Vogue. World famous photographer Mario Testino will put you on the fashion map in an exclusive shoot featuring you and supermodels for British Vogue. The lot includes one of a limited edition of handmade travel cases for skincare and make-up, created for Lancôme by French luxury label Goyard, inspiring you to transport with ease and elegance all the secrets of beauty.

The lot was introduced by Eva Herzigova, Natalia Vodianova and Mario Testino himself, and was bought by businesswoman Ekaterina Kuzmina for 450,000 euros.

The Dress

Make fashion history in Valentino's final haute couture masterpiece. This is a once-in-a lifetime chance to own the wedding dress named `Antoinetta' that crowned the grand finale show of Valentino's legendary career.

The lot was introduced by Natalia Vodianova and the Maestro himself, Valentino. It was bought by Veronika Belotserkovskaya for 600,000 euros, buying not only the dress but also a place in fashion history.

By way of a `gift' to Valentino to thank him for his generosity in contributing his work for the auction, Andrei Merkuriev, Principal Dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet, then gave an exquisite performance on the stage, introduced by Svetlana Zakharova, the Bolshoi's celebrated Prima Ballerina.

The Open Auction

One of the most dramatic moments of the Ball came at the Open Auction, as all guests were encouraged to pledge $1000 each to fund a complete play park. To the pulsating beat of David Bowie's hit `Heroes', one by one guests rose to their feet to commit $1000 to this very special appeal. The results of this generosity could be seen on the central screen, where a new element of the play park was highlighted once enough guests had pledged to fund it. In under five minutes, the entire play park was lit up, signifying funds for a complete park - encouraging one of the British guests to pledge an additional $300,000 for a second park.

Rustam Tariko, one of the evening's most generous benefactors, then took to the stage to proffer a toast - in Imperia vodka - `za lyubov', to love.

The Ultimate OscarsTM for two

Stay in the infamous Chateau Marmont. Mingle with the stars at the exclusive OscarTM picnic at Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg's mansion in Beverly Hills. Attend the OscarsTM ceremony dressed by LA celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe. Celebrate with the OscarTM winners at the hardest party to get into in the world, the Vanity Fair After Party. Enjoy a VIP adventure at Universal Studios. Universal Studios invites you and your guest to enjoy VIP privileges at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. You will receive your own personal guide for your day at the park, escorted priority boarding to all shows and attractions, and VIP reserved seating at all shows. Enjoy a private tour and luncheon at the Playboy Mansion accompanied by playmates. In addition, Playboy will provide you with a unique gift bag with Playboy brand goodies. Kindly donated by Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Graydon Carter, Andre Balazs, Rachel Zoe, Hugh Heffner and Universal Studios.

The lot was sold for 200,000 euros.

The Painting

The world's most renowned living artist, Damien Hirst, has created this unique work `Love is All Around' especially to be auctioned to benefit The Naked Heart Foundation.

The lot was introduced by Lucy Liu (Kill Bill, Charlie's Angels), and was purchased by an anonymous bidder for 1.2 million euros - the most valuable lot of the evening.

The Wine

Celebrate your love with this kind gift by Baron Eric de Rothschild, owner of the oldest and most famous chateau in Pauillac, Lafite Rothschild. Bid on Natalia Vodianova's weight in rare vintages.
This lot consists of three of the finest vintages of the last century: 1982,1990 and 2000 and, as some consider, the finest vintage of all time: 2005. Enjoy the weighing process and share the final glass with Natalia on stage. Kindly donated by Baron Eric de Rothschild.

The lot was secured by an anonymous bidder for 160,000 euros.

I love Paris

The Ultimate Luxury Long Weekend in the world's most romantic city and an Eiffel Tower composed of Louis Vuitton hard-sided suitcases to be customized with your initials. Stay four days at the ultra stylish Parisian home of Princess Diane Von Furstenberg. Dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower at the latest restaurant by legendary chef Alain Ducasse. A private VIP tour and luncheon at Versailles. Dinner at the Bristol Hotel featuring the gastronomic creations of chef Eric Frechon. A private tour of Louis Vuitton's Art Nouveau Asnieres gardens and workshop. The customization of the bags with the initials of the prizewinner will be done during the visit. A delicious traditional French dinner at home, prepared by Anne-Marie, Diane Von Furstenberg's personal cook. Anne-Marie will also treat you to a fresh petit dejeuner every morning during your stay.

Kindly donated by Princess Diane von Furstenberg, La Maison Louis Vuitton, and L'Hotel Le Bristol.

The lot was bought by Alexander Vinokurov, Chairman of General Partner of The Love Ball KIT Finance, for 160,000 euros.


As the auction drew to a close, guests turned their attention to the main stage for the musical entertainment of the evening, provided by Ultra Orange and Emmanuelle Seigner, as well as wildly popular British group Razorlight, both of whom drove guests in ball gowns and dinner jackets to the dancefloor.

The evening ended in the early hours with a steady stream of VIP cars conveying guests back to the comfort of their Moscow home-from-home - the Ritz-Carlton Moscow, the official hotel of the event.

Guests left with a generous gift bag contributed by Official Love Ball Partner Euphoria Calvin Klein, containing the the fragrance and warm memories of a sensational night in Tsaritsino.

The Love Ball, thanks to support from sponsors, auction contributors, bidders and guests succeeded in raising well over US$5 million for the construction of children's play parks in Russia - a result which gives lie to the stereotype of a Russian business community which places little emphasis on charitable giving. On the contrary, The Love Ball shows that there exists in Russia a strong philanthropic instinct, and there are bright prospects for the development of corporate social responsibility in Russian business in the future.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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