On Saturday, World AIDS Day, New Yorkers marked a grave occasion in the usual fashion: with retail!
Among those who turned up at the Kiehl’s store on Third Avenue, where motorcyles adorn the windows and a portion of the day’s proceeds went to the cause, were Dina and Alli Lohan (Lindsay is so last year). Chloe Sevigny, in massive leather Cloak coat and gray knit beret, ducked in to do her part, gamely posing for photos and chatting about her dry winter hands (she is a fan of Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, she said, though she can never remember its name, because her boyfriend turns all products backwards on the shelf).
Ms. Sevigny had a nice tan for December, and she explained she’d arrived late the night before from Louisiana, where she is filming a movie with Timothy Hutton and Nick Cannon. "I was sure they’re going to run over, because it’s an indie, and they never finish on time," she said.
Ms. Sevigny plays a scientist, she added. "It’s a thriller. Right now it’s called The Killing Room, but I don’t know how I feel about that title. It’s kind of about NK Ultra. There are lots of conspiracy theorists out there who think that they’ve really reinstated it post-9/11. So it’s kind of about that."
Nearby, Kate Roberts, British founder of YouthAIDS, was coming off a busy week.
"Yesterday I rang the NASDAQ stock exchange bell in the name of World AIDS Day, and we brought Frederique, a Victoria’s Secret supermodel down, and also yesterday I was honored at the U.N. for the work we do around the world," she said. And this morning, "I slept late, I did a ton of interviews. I said a prayer for a little girl in India who’s affected with AIDS."
YouthAIDS, an international charity for whom Ashley Judd is Global Ambassador, has a particular knack for harnessing the powers of the rich and famous for a higher cause.
"There are so many worthy causes out there, you really have to find a way to cut through the clutter," said Ms. Roberts, whose organization is responsible for those recently-ubiquitous black-and-white photos of celebrities with duct tape over there mouths. "In New York there’s a charity event every night. It’s very competitive, and you need to be able to reach young people with these life-saving messages."
But not every young person is moved by Ashley Judd. "In India, we really tap into Bollywood," said Ms. Roberts. "We’re working with the biggest movie star over there, a guy called Shahrukh Kahn. We may not have heard of him, but in India, he’s the Brad Pitt."