The third Love Ball fundraiser will boast a lineup of judges that includes Dita Von Teese, Andre Leon Talley, Marc Jacobs, Janet Mock, and more, organizers announced today. The night will also host Billy Porter as the master of ceremonies.
30 years after the first Love Ball, Susanne Bartsch returns, now with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, to put on the latest iteration of her blockbuster event. Started as a fundraiser for those affected by HIV/AIDS, the exhibition ball combines the energy and vibrancy of the ballroom scene with the star wattage and high paying donors of the fashion and nightlife scenes, having raised over $2.5 million in the past. And now, with the ballroom community squarely back in the spotlight, the fundraising has started up again.
This new Love Ball will also include judges Teyana Taylor, Jack Mizrahi, David and Phillipe Blonde, David LaChapelle, Kevin Aviance, Nicky Hilton-Rothschild, Miss Lawrence, Patrick Starr and Char Defrancesco. The panel falls in line with past judging line-ups for the event which combine notables from a variety of New York City social sectors.
“For the judges, we wanted to have a diverse group of notable individuals coming from the worlds of fashion, entertainment, the arts, music, and ballroom culture,” a spokesperson for the event wrote to Out in an email statement when asked whether there would be more members of the ballroom scene added — Miss Lawrence, Mizrahi, and Aviance are all of the scene. “We are working on further additions to our judges panel to be announced at a later date.” The representatives went on to clarify that legends and icons from the community would be hosted by the CDFA at a table during the event. The first two Love Ball events hosted the likes of Naomi Campbell, Iman, Brooke Shields, Thierry Mugler, and Talley.
As an exhibition ball, the event will host six categories that will be open to a pre-approved list of competitors from ballroom as well as other personalities. The categories and the list of performers were created in collaboration with Mizrahi, Aviance, the late Hector Xtravaganza as well as the “major houses of today’s ballroom scene.” The set up, while it doesn’t reflect the most “authentic ball,” is one that is regularly used for exhibition balls in an effort to show the community’s culture in a way that’s organized, streamlined, and digestible for an outside audience.
On social media, the event has been criticized for its ticket prices. Tickets are currently priced at $1,000, $4,000, and $10,000 which include the tickets, sometimes a table, as well as dinner and an open bar. All of this will be made possible by support through sponsors like MAC Cosmetics, Lyft and Skyy. Some have said these prices would keep out the ballroom scene from which the event is based on. Organizers clarified to Out that $25 tickets will be made available directly to the ballroom community. This price is similar to any major ball in America today.
“The goal of the evening is to raise as much money for life-saving programs targeting underserved communities,” a spokesperson said. This money will go towards the CFDA / Vogue HIV/AIDS Initiative at the New York Community Trust, where HIV/AIDS organizations can apply for the funds to affect change.
Love Ball III is on June 25th hosted at New York City’s Gotham Hall.