Swanky soirees

From black ties to white beaches, all the parties that matter

>Dolce & Gabbana party
WHERE: Le Baoli
WHEN: May 22

They're not filmmakers, but they're on the red carpet all the time -- or at least their creations are. On May 22, however, fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will be the center of attention as they host their annual Dolce & Gabbana Cannes celebration, set to take place at the posh Le Baoli restaurant in the heart of town. The fete routinely draws some of the biggest names in fashion, film and art -- past editions have played host to everyone from Dennis Hopper, Natalie Portman and Kylie Minogue to Naomi Campbell, Petra Nemcova and Dita Von Teese -- so if you're lucky enough to be on the guest list, be prepared to strike a pose.

>Soho House Grey Goose Club
WHERE: Chateau de la Napoule, just west of Cannes
WHEN:May 16

The vast Chateau de la Napoule perches on a dramatic stretch of coastline in the town of Napoule. Originally constructed in the 14th century, the castle had been destroyed and rebuilt eight times -- and even converted into a glass factory -- by the time the American artist Henry Clews purchased it in 1918 and gave it a facelift. And on May 16, the castle will be reborn again, this time as the site of the Soho House Grey Goose Club, which will host a posh charity dinner for 200 guests, including celebrities, tastemakers and industry bigwigs. (Last year's attendees included everyone from Julian Lennon to Juliette Lewis.) Following the dinner, the castle will host an exclusive afterparty for 500-600 fortunate guests, who will enjoy the appropriately named Premiere Goose, Palme d'Orange and Etoile de Cannes, a trio of bespoke cocktails created by Grey Goose global brand ambassador and mixologist to the stars Dimitri Lezinska.

>Le Baron Cannes
WHERE: 3,14 Hotel
WHEN: May 13-24

Le Baron, Paris' hottest, most exclusive nightspot, will be taking over Cannes' 3,14 Hotel again this year, drawing all the "cool kids" from Paris for one weekend or deux to hang out at their favorite nightspot -- but with a Festival de Cannes twist. Le Baron Cannes hosts parties for various films, feting their Competition screenings, but is the destination for late-night fest parties. The scene at Le Baron doesn't get going until after most other parties are winding down; it's "le place to be" from about 3-6 a.m. every night of the fest. Run by "La Clique" (yes, that's French for "the clique"), Le Baron in Paris was started by some of the coolest guys in France -- Lionel Bensemoun and Andre -- and attracts a laundry list of French celebs, hipsters and nightcrawlers. The scene is almost 100% French, but Hollywood stars who know the Parisian Baron end up trickling in during the fest as well. If you're neither famous nor best friends with Andre, Lionel or the bouncers, don't even think about crossing Le Baron's velvet rope.

>amfAR Cinema Against AIDS dinner and auction
WHERE: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
WHEN: May 21

Elton John's red piano. A tennis lesson with Serena Williams. A kiss from George Clooney. Those are just a few of the one-of-a-kind prizes that have been snapped up over the years during amfAR's annual Cinema Against AIDS dinner and live auction, which will see its 15th edition kick off May 21. To be held for the first time at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, the gala is one of the hottest tickets in town and never fails to draw a who's who of Hollywood heavy-hitters. But this year, the most famous face in the room will hail not from entertainment but from politics: Former President Bill Clinton, well known for his contributions to the fight against AIDS, will be the evening's honored guest and speaker. "AIDS doesn't slow down when the economy slows down, so amfAR's event in Cannes is especially important this year," amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost says. Joined by Harvey Weinstein, Sharon Stone will reprise her role as auctioneer; Oscar-winning songstress and renowned AIDS activist Annie Lennox will perform.

>Cinefondation awards ceremony
WHERE: The Bunuel Theatre at the Palais
WHEN: May 22

It's their first time, but it probably won't be their last. On May 22 at the Bunuel Theatre at the Palais, three student filmmakers will accept the first-, second- and third-place prizes awarded by the fest's Cinefondation. And if history is any indicator, they will return to Cannes -- but next time, they'll be in the deep end of the pool, with films screening in the fest's major races. Founded in 1998, the Cinefondation was established to discover the next generation of filmmakers. To that end, each year it selects 15-20 short- to medium-length works from film schools from across the globe to be part of the festival's Official Selection. Cinefondation filmmakers have been putting those resources and connections made to good use: Last year, 11 directors with projects screening at the festival -- including in Un Certain Regard, Directors' Fortnight and In Competition -- were Cinefondation alumni.

>Maybach Foundation Celebrity Poker Night and Private Luncheon
WHERE: Hotel Cap-du-Eden-Roc
WHEN: May 17-18

When orphan Wilhelm Maybach's natural talent for drawing and mathematics caught the eye of businessman Gottlieb Daimler, it was quite a twist of fate: Daimler took the boy under his wing, and Maybach went on to design the first Mercedes car. Today, the Wilhelm & Karl Maybach Foundation is carrying on the tradition of mentorship, connecting talented young people facing adversity with global leaders. On May 17 at the Hotel Cap-du-Eden-Roc, an array of VIPs will ante up to support the foundation's mission during its festive Celebrity Poker Night. The lucky winner will earn a seat at the 2009 World Series of Poker. What's more, the following day the foundation will host its third annual private Cannes luncheon. During the event, a host of beautiful people will wine and dine in honor of an entertainment legend who has demonstrated a commitment to mentorship. You'll have to buy a seat to find out just who that legend will be -- past honorees include Dennis Hopper and Quincy Jones.
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