For over two decades, nightlife and entertainment pioneer Sonia Irvine has been the driving force behind Formula 1’s exclusive party scene. As the founder of Amber Lounge – the reference in Grand Prix events – she has access to a world of almost unlimited privilege and excess, but Sonia has remained grounded throughout.
“Alzheimer’s struck our family ten years ago,” Sonia Irvine explains. “It is one of the hardest diseases to come to terms with. The person is physically there, but the mind slowly slips away and with that their lifelong memories, leaving the families behind powerless and stuck in a time warp.”
If you are unfamiliar with the Amber Lounge, which was founded by Sonia in 2003, it has come to be recognised as the original Formula 1 VIP party. It is so exclusive and private, that no cameras are allowed beyond the red carpet. But while it plays to the hedonistic desires of its high-profile guest list, at its core is the idea of giving back and of supporting charities worldwide with their research and missions. Sonia and her concept have raised more than 4,000,000€ in the last decade for international charitable organisations.
At the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, the Amber Lounge will unite with former F1 racer Sir Jackie Stewart’s foundation, Race Against Dementia. 77-year-old Stewart, who won on the Monaco circuit an impressive three times during his racing career, and Sonia have both been directly affected by the disease (Sonia’s mother Kathleen and Stewart’s wife Helen are both sufferers of dementia) so when he announced the launch of his foundation, Sonia pledged to help in any way she could.
“I am very grateful to Amber Lounge for their generosity towards Race Against Dementia,” says Sir Jackie Stewart. “I am absolutely behind the event and look forward to a very special evening.”
“The disease is at epidemic proportions and requires funds to raise awareness, support for the families and much-needed resources for research,” Sonia continues. “We decided there was no better person and no better partner for this cause than Sir Jackie Stewart and his charity Race Against Dementia, and my brother Eddie and my father Edmund will be present to lend their support.
The Amber Lounge Charity Auction is a perfect opportunity for us to join forces and drive forward the fight against this terrible disease.”
Over 45 million people around the world are living with dementia and many others may be suffering without a diagnosis. According to recent statistics, one in three people will get dementia during this lifetime and one person is diagnosed every three seconds.
On Friday 26th May, on the eve of Monaco’s GP weekend, the Amber Lounge will host its signature U*NITE event at Le Méridien Beach Plaza hotel in the east of the principality. Following a red carpet entrance and cocktail reception, guests will be treated to a runway show featuring the F1 drivers in Apsley Tailors suits and their better halves in silk creations by Silviya Neri. Other prominent designers to be featured also include British designer SAFiYAA, who will present her Autumn/Winter collection.
The highly-anticipated live charity auction will then ensue with a myriad of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences, iconic pieces and coveted items – all with a minimum value of 50,000€. From a series of unique motor racing photographs in Sir Jackie Stewart’s private collection to a framed artwork by Arunas Rutkus, a leather Luvienz trunk containing bottles of caviar-tasting champagne and a vintage champagne package by Hatt & Soner, the auction is a highlight of the weekend.
An evening of dancing and performances by international artists, DJs and live acts will follow – the sun will rise before the festivities close. Tickets for a U*NITE table (access to the full event) start at 7,200€ while a table with access from 11pm onwards are available from 5,200€ (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Amber Lounge events at Monaco GP 2017
Friday 26th May: U*NITE with Amber Fashion runway show, live charity auction and dusk till dawn entertainment
Saturday 27th May: Watch qualifying from the Amber Lounge yacht with F1 driver appearances, trackside views, open bar and gourmet buffet followed by Amber Lounge Dining and the EXTRAVAGANZA After Party with non-stop performances and free-flowing champagne all night long
Sunday 28th May: Enjoy the ultimate viewing experience on board the yacht followed by Amber Lounge Dining and the famous F1 Driver Post Race Party, the most anticipated night of the weekend where F1 drivers and teams gather for post-race celebrations with live acts, DJs and unlimited champagne