DALLAS – The groove was in the heart Saturday night as DIFFA Dallas presented its 25th runway show and auction at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The show was a multimedia, two-stage extravaganza featuring dancing, a light show, fantastical costuming and, of course, fashion — all choreographed to hit tunes from the past three decades.
“We were very impressed and happy with the show,” said Michael Moldovan, co-owner of Traffic Los Angeles, a presenting co-sponsor. “The music was amazing.”
About 500 people — mostly volunteers from the city’s fashion, interior design and gay communities — begin working months in advance to present the benefit for AIDS service organizations. It has made DIFFA best known for denim jackets decorated or remade by designers, but this year the call went out simply for jackets, and houses from here to Milan responded. The audience of 1,500 was also invited to bid on an array of donated luxury goods, from suede love seats to a trip to Beijing.
“Designers are always willing to support DIFFA Dallas due to the cause and especially this year, since it was the 25th DIFFA show,” said Chuck Steelman, event chair and special events manager at Neiman Marcus.
It’s too early to tally revenues, Steelman said, but over the years the charity has given more than $7 million to help people in the metro area living with HIV and AIDS, including $428,000 last year.
House of DIFFA, as the event was rebranded in 2013, started in 1988 with a little sale of dresses stitched for the occasion, many using upholstery fabrics. It was a flop, but organizers Michael and Donna Faircloth and David Davis figured they had a winner in 1989 when Levi Strauss agreed to give them 100 jackets to be restyled by fashion designers. In 2012, DIFFA gave up denim in favor of smoking jackets, and it’s been all about evening since.
This year, Steelman, along with retired fashion sales representative Carol Quist and realtor Matt Wilkerson, recruited the 100-plus jackets from houses including Armani Collection, Saint Laurent, Ted Baker London, Isabel Marant, Billy Reid, Marc Jacobs, Guiliana Teso and Marni.