THE ANNUAL MACY’S WEST FUND-RAISER TACKS ON ANOTHER $2 MILLION FOR AIDS CAUSES.
Byline: Diane Dorrans Saeks
SAN FRANCISCO — Megastars, extreme-sports champions, preppy sportswear and Nicholas Graham’s outrageous “History of Underwear” skit turned Macy’s West’s 17th annual Passport fashion show into a four-night whooping and hollering extravaganza last week.
Sharon Stone, wearing a mauve lace Vera Wang dress, stood in for chairman Elizabeth Taylor, who has supported this popular AIDS fund-raiser since its inception.
Stone, dazzling in an elaborate jade and amethyst necklace given to her by her friend, the late Tony Duquette, walked arm-in-arm down the runway with Earvin (Magic) Johnson and Cindy Crawford. They were followed by women’s soccer star Brandi Chastain, skateboarding extreme games champions, skivvy-sporting body-builders and a host of designers, including Julie Chaiken and Francois Girbaud. Tommy Hilfiger marched downstage with actress Marilu Henner.
Cynthia Rowley, whose men’s wear collection was shown, couldn’t make it west from New York, thanks to Hurricane Floyd.
Each night of the event featured a fashion show and food. The first three evenings were staged at the bayside Fort Mason here; there was a black-tie opening-night gala; the first Hilfiger-sponsored Teen Night for 1,500 high school students, which highlighted clothes for the junior set, and a fashion night sponsored by American Express. On the fourth night, the show moved to Los Angeles.
The store’s razzle-dazzle efforts raised $2 million for AIDS research and HIV/AIDS charities, bringing the total raised by Macy’s West to $10 million.
“We remain more committed than ever to the fight against AIDS, and now we are going for the vaccine,” said Michael Steinberg, Macy’s West chairman, as he welcomed the crowd of 2,700 at the opening gala.
The store was among the first companies to go public with AIDS fund-raising, Steinberg noted. Ray Wills, retired men’s fashion director for Macy’s West, said he started the event as a men’s fashion presentation in the Macy’s staff cafeteria. Once there were just a handful of devotees; now, there are “limousines around the block,” observed Wills.
“We grew and built Passport by getting our vendors and the corporate community involved,” Steinberg said. “Our theme this year is ‘Extreme Fashion,’ but we are also fostering an extreme measure of compassion.”
Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy’s parent, Federated Department Stores, lamented the early closings of Macy’s Herald Square and Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan, also thanks to Hurricane Floyd.
“We lost a lot of business,” said Lundgren, but added that he was relieved the staff got home safely.
The fashion show included space-age and Y2K- theme men’s sportswear, Julie Chaiken’s preppy sweaters a la Ali MacGraw, Rowley’s ruffled men’s shirts, a presentation of new MAC makeup looks and Tommy Hilfiger’s Red Label collection.
Capping the evening, Nicholas Graham of Joe Boxer cut loose with a loopy version of the “History of Underwear.” His over-the-top vision rewrote history with lace-trimmed “Elizabethan” boxers, asp-encircled “Cleopatra” skivvies and “Roman centurions” in chain-mail-draped white boxers.
Graham counted down to the millennium in a shower of streamers and glow-in-the-dark boxers.