Byline: Holly Haber

DALLAS — DIFFA once again proved that the market for denim is blazing hot, selling an Arizona jacket studded with nuts and bolts and featuring a steel spine for $12,500.
The jacket, designed by Bobbitt & Co., a local interior designer, was the top seller at the Dallas Collection 2000, a black-tie benefit auction and runway show of 104 denim jackets embellished by fashion and interior designers as well as celebrities. The party benefiting the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, which was held early this month in the Great Hall of Dallas’s International Apparel Mart, netted about $250,000 for the charity. J.C. Penney donated the jackets.
Taking second place in the bidding war was a mink-trimmed number created by Lori Eskowitz, a costume designer for “Will & Grace,” which sold for $10,000 and was bundled with a walk-on part on the TV show. Local designer Michael Faircloth, whose studio is at the Lilly Dodson store, turned his jacket into a bustier, HotPants and cell phone carrier that, boosted by the trip to Berlin that was packaged with the ensemble, earned $8,500 for DIFFA.
Todd Oldham cropped his jacket, paving it with strips of a blue-and-gold printed fabric. Offered with a four-night stay at Canyon Ranch Spa, it sold for $8,000.
The jackets were shown in a flamboyant show themed “Legendary,” in which costumed cavemen, a take on Leona Helmsley and various mythological creatures strode down the runway.
DIFFA took a hiatus from the embellished-jacket theme last year, since the event had been held for 10 years running and seemed to be petering out. But last year’s alternative concept of auctioning decorated champagne buckets netted only $82,000, so DIFFA returned to the popular jacket auction. About 1,200 people attended the event.
“We may have lost some momentum by taking a year off, but the enthusiasm was certainly back and that was evident in the average jacket price, which was the highest ever at $1,700-plus,” said Al James, executive director of DIFFA’s Dallas chapter.
The charity will probably go forward with the denim jacket concept again next year, James added.

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