SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Macy’s & American Express Passport, the five-night charity events in San Francisco and Los Angeles, raised $1.5 million for HIV/AIDS research, the retailer said Friday. The sum adds to the $17 million Passport has raised in the past 21 years in its effort to combat the epidemic.

Robert Mettler, chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based department store chain, said he has a personal as well as a professional commitment to the cause: “I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years in the design world and in San Francisco.”

The annual series of events is never short on entertainment. This year’s edition featured Liza Minnelli, who subbed for an under-the-weather Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the event’s founding chair and yearly host. At the party here, Minnelli sported a black Gianfranco Ferré swing coat in the press line and later changed to a longer coat lined with hot pink satin by Halston. “Thank God they’ve found something that can slow [AIDS] down in this country,” said Minnelli.

Sharon Stone also joined the festivities, dressed in a Vera Wang black dress and mile-high white stilettos. She helped whip up the crowd for the evening’s auction. At one point, she sat on comedian Pauly Shore’s lap, urging him to bid $15,000 for a limited edition Movado Andy Warhol watch. “Do you really want to be my girl?” Shore teased her.

Other highlights included Tony-award-winning chanteuse Jennifer Holliday and a Macy’s fashion show that included looks from Kenneth Cole, Rocawear, MAC Cosmetics, VF Intimates, 2xist and Stuart Weitzman.

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