MACY’S CALIF. BENEFITS FOR AIDS CHARITIES RAISED $2M

SAN FRANCISCO — “It’s not a fashion show, it’s fashion theater,” said Michael Steinberg, chairman and chief executive of Macy’s West, referring to the scene at Passport ’97 “Fusion,” the chain’s fashion show benefit for AIDS charities.
At times, it seemed more like a strip show, with male models performing mock stripteases and bare-breasted women parading down the runway, their arms crossed over their chests.
Not surprisingly, the underwear portion of the fashion show drew the most enthusiastic response from the audience, especially since, this year, women paraded down the 120-foot runway in their skivvies for the first time.
The 15th annual Passport event also drew big-name talent — Elizabeth Taylor, Tina Turner and k.d. lang here, and Jasmine Guy and lang at the Passport event in Los Angeles.
The benefit’s three-night run at the Fort Mason Center here Sept. 17-19 drew a crowd of 2,700 each night, while the Los Angeles show sold out with 2,700 people attending.
Passport’s Los Angeles party was held Friday night in Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar. The four nights of Passport — three in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles — raised $2 million for charities, including the Magic Johnson Foundation, to benefit HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide.
BCBG Max Azria, Lida Baday, Kenneth Cole, Mark Echo and Ralph Lauren were among the designer labels highlighted during the San Francisco fashion show, where models such as Irina, Tyson Beckford and Matt King were among dozens donating their time on the runway.
Azria, Baday, Cole and Polo Ralph Lauren/Ralph Lauren Intimates reprised their runway shows in Los Angeles, along with FUBU.
“My only regret is that I sent models down the runway with clothes on,” said Kenneth Cole. Referring to the Ralph Lauren Intimates segment, he said, “It was tough to compete. Wow, that was something.”
“This is a wonderful way for us to get exposure,” said Canadian designer Baday. “This is my first time at Passport and my first time in San Francisco. A lot of firsts tonight.”
“This is the first step in getting more involved with Passport in the future,” said Don Henshall, president of Diesel USA, which cosponsored an after-show party. Diesel opened a 16,000-square-foot flagship in San Francisco on July 2.
Lang, who was scheduled to perform at the Los Angeles Passport, was a surprise guest at the event in San Francisco.
“I’m here for MAC,” said lang, co-chair of the MAC AIDS Fund, referring to the cosmetics company. She described Passport as “an awesome event.”
During a speech to the crowd before the fashion show, lang said MAC has raised $10.4 million to fight HIV/AIDS through the sale of Viva Glam I and II lipsticks.
“I am grieving for the loss of two great women, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa,” said Elizabeth Taylor in a speech before the fashion show.
“I am grieving for those they would have helped had they lived. They were vocal…advocates for those with AIDS long before it was easy…but simply because it was right.”
Guy brought the cast of “Chicago” with her to perform “All That Jazz” in L.A. “This is the one charity that I would always like to lend my name to because of the friends I’ve lost to AIDS and those who are living with HIV,” she said.

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