Byline: Kristin Young

BEVERLY HILLS — The red carpet as fashion runway has become an unofficial slogan at award shows and premieres alike, and Rodeo Drive — the West Coast haunt of many a star and design house — is dedicating its upcoming Tribute to Style charity gala to just that.
Cohosted this year by superweights Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elizabeth Hurley and Dennis Hopper, among others, the fourth biannual event on March 18 will blanket the blocks between Wilshire and Little Santa Monica Boulevards in crimson, turning the famous thoroughfare into a chic outdoor venue for cocktails, dinner and a concert.
That the event falls exactly one week prior to the 73rd Annual Academy Awards only guarantees the boldface turnout: Samuel L. Jackson, Kelly Preston, Sela Ward and Kelsey Grammer are also confirmed.
As for entertainment, Latin singer Marc Anthony was announced at press time.
Retailers flanking Rodeo Drive are also in on the action. Fendi, Badgley Mischka, Escada, La Perla, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabanna and Gucci are among those that have created one-of-a-kind auction items inspired by the red carpet.
Valued from $400 to $9,000, the custom items will be on display in shop windows beginning Sunday.
Escada is donating a princess-cut, strapless red duchess satin ballgown with a fitted beaded bodice priced at $7,000. Gucci’s red duchess dress features a bustier and comes with red patent leather ankle-strap shoes, both valued at $3,900.
“The connection is to reinforce the important link between the film and fashion industries,” said Colleen O’Kane of Christian Dior, event co-chair and a board member for the Rodeo Drive Committee. Dior is donating a $2,105 long, red satin gown with a keyhole halter.
“Tribute to Style is focusing on the arts, and the event will reinforce the magic when two very powerful industries come together for a very good cause,” she added, referring to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Arts and Education Fund, which will benefit from the $1,000 tickets and auction proceeds.
Last year’s event raised $760,000. Since its inception in 1996, Tribute to Style has raised more than $2 million for charities.
Entertainment Industry co-chairs are Ruth and Jake Bloom, Susan and Jonathan Dolgen, Kelly Chapman and Ron Meyer, Jo Champa and Joseph Farrell, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg and Jamie and Steve Tisch.
Fashion industry co-chairs are Dior’s O’Kane, Greg Steward of Gucci and Peri Ellen Berne of La Perla.

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