Vivienne Westwood wants to save the world. She just needs a few friends to help her out.
As co-presenter of the 9th Art of Elysium Heaven gala, the 74-year-old British designer and activist had a bully pulpit Saturday night from which to expound on climate change and more.
"We have to save the world," she told guests including Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Topher Grace, Elijah Wood, and Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed, who were seated for dinner in what was designed as a "post-apocalyptic rain forest" peppered with signs about the climate, the economy and more.
Encouraging gala-goers to get their news from the Internet rather than the mainstream media and to sign up for an email list she'd be using to communicate her activism, she blamed a global financial system based on a "war economy" for harming the climate.
After that, Kelly Osbourne joined Justin Bartha onstage to pry open wallets for the organization's sole fundraising event. "You buy a pair of shoes from Louboutin just because they have those red soles ... so [forget] the shoes ...," the salty TV personality said. "Donate that money!" Limited-edition Shepherd Fairey prints were also offered at $500 a pop,
While the gala is technically a black-tie event, not all the women's ensembles qualified for "black tie" as defined by the stodgy likes of the Academy Awards. With punk princess Westwood at the helm, it was almost anything goes, with fashion choices ranging from glittery gowns to sleek jumpsuits to cocktail dresses.
James Franco, who made the scene in time to deliver his part of the presentation after a video highlighted his and others' his work for the organization, tucked a white vest and straight black tie under his tux jacket, while Depp went with an open collar on his white shirt alongside Heard in bright red Vivienne Westwood. The pirate and his lady, who were seated next to Westwood at the head table, arrived shortly before dinner service began and did the rounds before taking their seats.
Heard was last year's Spirit of Elysium Award winner, for her work with the charity, which brings art into the lives of seriously ill children. This year's honor went to actress Finola Hughes and her husband, artist Russell Young, who accepted the award with great enthusiasm.
Through dinner, the head table and the area around it were filled with famous faces. Christina Milian, upon spotting Depp, even asked for a selfie. As the evening began to wind down, beauty after beauty lined up to say goodbye to or get a word with Westwood, who had plenty of time for all who approached.
One on one, as a follow-up to her extensive onstage remarks, she urged a "practical approach" to fighting climate change, including doing business with green power companies. "You've got to do things," she said.
Among the women rocking Westwood's designs in the spacious 3Labs space in Culver City were Osbourne, Christina Hendricks, Juliette Lewis and Rumer Willis. And the dame herself explained upon arrival that her ensemble — spangly blue-sequined netting of sorts, draped around her over a long-sleeved tee and form-fitting pants, with platform sandals over socks — had been thrown together "in about 10 minutes," she said, by event co-presenter Andreas Kronthaler, her design partner, creative director and husband.
Punk band Wild Daughter performed an edgy set during the cocktail hour, and later Detroit-based soprano Shara Worden provided musical entertainment — singing and jamming on electric guitar — accompanied by ballet dancers dressed in over-the-top Westwood couture.
Westwood wasn't the only fashion show in town, though: With her hair in a low twist, "UnREAL" and "Ballers" actress Arielle Kebbel was radiant in a silver, form-fitting gown by Alon Livné. Malin Akerman showed up in coral pajama pants and a top that flowed behind her down to the ground, designed by Monique Lhullier — who was also among the guests. Bella Thorne wore Marchesa.
Though the event is held annually on the eve of the Golden Globe Awards, few of those in attendance would be seen at the show.
Hendricks, a first-time Heaven attendee along with husband Geoffrey Arend, said she'd be watching the Globes "on the couch at home with my girlfriends ... and pulling for Jon, of course." Those positive vibes may have helped: "Mad Men" costar Jon Hamm walked away with the trophy for actor in a drama series Sunday night.