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LOS ANGELES — Nicole Richie, Nicky Hilton, Tara Reid and Donovan Leitch were among the celebrities who walked the runway for Tommy Hilfiger’s and philanthropist Nancy Davis’ 14th annual Race to Erase MS event on Friday. The event, held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel here, raised $2.5 million for multiple sclerosis research.
The Hilfiger fashion show, a hallmark of the event, was full of its usual celebrity high jinks. Nick and Drew Lachey, clad in leather biker jackets, struck heavy metal poses at the end of the runway — sticking out their tongues and throwing up the sign of the devil; Daisy Fuentes and Michelle Rodriguez swirled their feather boas like “Moulin Rouge” dancers; Ian Ziering broke into a rump-shaking dance, and Lisa Rinna showed off some burlesque-like moves in a skintight red dress.
“It was just fun,” said Hilfiger, who took a bow after the show with Keisha Whitaker, Forest Whitaker’s wife, who modeled with her two young daughters on the catwalk. The designer said he continued to cohost the event because his sister has been living with MS for 25 years. “Every year, we raise more money and therefore have more money to fund doctors for research,” he said.
“I am eternally lucky to call Tommy Hilfiger my friend,” said Davis, who was diagnosed with MS in 1991. “And everyone around the world with MS is lucky to have Tommy as a friend.”
This year’s event, dubbed “Dance to Erase MS,” kicked off with a performance by professional dancers from the TV show “Dancing With the Stars.” Past and present cast members of the show — including Rinna, Ziering, Drew Lachey, Tia Carrera, Stacy Keibler and Apolo Anton Ohno — all took a turn on the runway. Performances by the Goo Goo Dolls, Donna Summer and Earth, Wind and Fire got the crowd on its feet as the Davis clan boogied front and center.
But perhaps most memorable was a speech by actress Teri Garr, who has MS and came onstage in a wheelchair. “One of the things I’ve learned from having MS is that I hate the letters M and S,” she said. “I even took the letters from the front of my name. I’m now known as Your Royal Highness, and you may call me that.”
This story first appeared in the April 17, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.