Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kate Mara Host Style Lab to Benefit Ovarian Cancer Research

Courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance
Kate Mara and Maggie Gyllenhaal on the red carpet for the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance’s Style Lab, a fundraiser Thursday evening at New York’s Gotham Hall.

Oprah, Ben Affleck, Julia Roberts and others donated red-carpet looks for the event’s online auction, which continues through Sunday.

A sequined gown Oprah wore to the 2013 New York premiere of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, a green Ferragamo suit Julia Roberts wore to Rita Wilson’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in March, and a Gucci suit Ben Affleck wore in March 2016 for the Mexican premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are just a few of the red-carpet looks up for auction through Sunday to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.

Collectively known as “Shop My Closet,” the donated designer items were among the highlights Thursday night at Style Lab, OCRA’s annual fundraiser, hosted by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kate Mara at New York’s Gotham Hall. “It takes money to do research, and just the idea that research can be funded in some small way by these donated items, by a dress that Oprah donated, for example, to benefit any woman with ovarian cancer, that’s so cool,” said Gyllenhaal, who likewise donated an Yves Saint Laurent silk dress she wore to an event with husband Peter Sarsgaard, not long after their oldest daughter, Ramona, was born. 

“It’s a really beautiful dress that I felt really great in at the moment when I was ready to go out and feel a bit glamorous, and it just felt like this little shift in my life when I put on this dress,” Gyllenhaal added. “I love the idea that it could make someone else feel the same, and the money will go to a cause that helps every woman.”  

Mara donated a Miu Miu dress that she acknowledged was similar to the dress she was wearing Thursday evening. “They’re both Miu Miu, but [Miuccia Prada] is one of my favorite designers,” she said. “I wore it to an event about a year ago, and I was just trying to think of something that would work on different types of people so it wouldn’t be too limiting, but also something that’s really comfortable and also felt like me.” 

Both Gyllenhaal and Mara noted that ovarian cancer is a cause close to their hearts, not only because they know women who have been impacted by the disease, but also because women’s health is an issue currently at the forefront of everyday conversation. “I have a friend who I love and truly care about, and she asked me to support this because her mother died from it, and it was easy to say yes,” Gyllenhaal said. “But another reason I’m here tonight is because I think women’s health is under attack, so each of us has to do everything we can to support women and take care of our health care, which is invaluable.”

“Shop My Closet” is a new element of this OCRA fundraiser, which has evolved from Super Saturday, the phenomenally successful sale of donated designer items that took place in the Hamptons for 20 years. “It was an amazing, iconic event, but 20 years in, retail has changed,” explained Audra Moran, OCRA’s president and CEO. “Companies aren’t producing in the same quantities that they once were, and everyone is working in sustainability models. We were getting less and less in donated items, and that’s hard to explain to the public. It’s also really expensive to produce an event in the Hamptons, so last year we moved into the city, and this year, with ‘Shop My Closet,’ we’ve re-envisioned the event. And the response was amazing — every time a new donation came in from someone, everyone in our office was so thrilled and grateful.” 

A few of the auction items sold at Thursday night’s event, including a Brandon Maxwell gown Amy Schumer wore to the 2018 I Feel Pretty premiere, which went for $1,125, and a Christian Dior dress once donated by Kate Upton, which sold for $350. A last-minute bidding war, meanwhile, erupted for the rainbow-striped Ferragamo bag Roberts carried to Wilson’s Walk of Fame ceremony. The handbag ultimately sold for $850, while the bidding on the suit remains open until 5 p.m. ET on Sunday. “We wanted to close the bidding on a few items tonight so people here can actually take something home,” Moran noted. “The other auction pieces remain online until Sunday, because we wanted to open up that aspect of the event to a bigger crowd — the goal, after all, is to raise money.” 

With guests including Victor Garber, Vivica A. Fox and Margarita Levieva, who most recently co-starred with Gyllenhaal on The Deuce, the core of Style Lab remains similar to OCRA’s Super Saturday, with the main space of Gotham Hall set up as a shopping event featuring donated items from brands such as Shoshanna, Cosabella, Liverpool Los Angeles and DL 1961 Premium Denim. Guests purchased everything from jeans to lace bras, dresses, sunglasses and more while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and buffet stations, with the event capped with a concert by En Vogue. 

Throughout the night, the oversized video screen above the stage also offered facts and statistics about ovarian cancer risk and prevention, including the use of oral contraceptives, which can lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer when used for five years or more. “That’s a big platform for us on Capitol Hill, for insurance to cover contraceptives,” Moran said. “We are all about promoting women’s health, and the women we work with, they’re so powerful. Survivors of ovarian cancer are a smaller group than, say, breast cancer, because ovarian cancer is a rare disease, but it’s also a really hard disease. So it’s a smaller group, but these women are mighty.” 

“Health is health, and we all should support each other, men and women alike — that shouldn’t be a rare thing,” Mara said. “Everyone knows someone who’s been affected by cancer. It’s a struggle and a really brutal disease, and the only way we can find a cure or a resolution is to work together.” 

Fox agreed. “It feels like a night of girl power, and we really need that right now,” she said. “We’ve got a White House right now filled with guys trying to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies, so it’s up to all of us to bring awareness, especially to women’s causes. Our health should always come first — we’re superwomen and we know how to multi-task, but we have to make sure we know how to refuel and take care of ourselves, because that way, we can take care of everyone else.”