Valentine’s Day came early to L.A.’s Sunset Tower on Tuesday night, where Jessica Alba and jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer hosted a dinner to celebrate their collaboration on two sweetheart necklaces with proceeds to benefit the RED project’s fight against AIDS.
The delicate pieces, one a ruby-encrusted heart pendant ($980), and the other a simple gold heart pendant ($280), are being sold online at fashion retail site Gilt.com. Each necklace purchased will provide funds for nine months of lifesaving medication to an HIV-positive pregnant woman. The medication not only keeps mothers healthy, but also prevents them from transmitting the virus to unborn babies. RED was founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver to fight AIDS in Africa, with a focus on countries with a high prevalence of mother-to-child transmission.
“RED called me and asked if I would design a piece, and I immediately thought of Jessica. We’ve been friends forever -- her husband and I actually went to high school together, for real,” Meyer explained. “I knew she was very involved with RED, and that she’d gone to Africa with the organization, so I called to see if she wanted to collaborate, and she was onboard immediately. She came to the studio and we designed the pieces together.”
“The heart is universal, and that’s what we really wanted,” said Alba, dressed in a black floral dance skirt and cropped sweater by Michael Kors. “And it’s the perfect gift.”
Dinner was served on the terrace with a view of the L.A. lights. Glass vases filled with Valentine’s-looking bouquets of pink ranunculus by floral designer Eric Buterbaugh decorated the long table. And at each place setting was a pink-iced, heart-shaped cookie stamped with the collection’s hashtag, #JMxoJA.
Guests included Kerry Washington, dressed in a polka-dot Dolce & Gabbana dress and carrying a clutch bag emblazoned with the word “Love,” Rachel Zoe, Ellen Pompeo, Molly Sims, Estee Stanley and designers/stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, whose new women’s collection, the Great is set to hit stores any day now.
“The premise of RED is to get the most creative on the planet helping the poorest on the planet,” said Deborah Dugan, CEO of RED, which is headquartered in New York. “I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here, but [AIDS] has killed 36 million and is only 30 years old. That’s like the population of Canada. And there are still 35 million people who have the disease. But this year, there are points of optimism. Now, more people are on the medication than are getting the disease, and in a pandemic that makes a difference. If we could have a generation that doesn’t get the disease, because it’s not passed on from mother to child, that would also be a tipping point.”
Dugan raised a glass to thank Alba and Meyer for the “poetry” of creating future heirlooms, and tapping into the sentiment of helping mother and child. And Alba returned, enthusiastically urging guests: “Now go buy necklaces!”