Awesome Arabesque

DIFFA/Dallas dares not disappoint for year’s most exotic gala

DIFFA/Dallas dares not disappoint for year’s most exotic gala

When a camel is your greeter, you know your evening is about to get interesting. And so it went at House of DIFFA 2017, the blowout gala for DIFFA/Dallas, held May 6 at the Omni hotel downtown.

Never an organization to embrace anything halfway, DIFFA enticed supporters with an Arabesque theme. The evening was exotic and thrilling, from the aforementioned camel to the belly dancers who welcomed patrons into the ballroom to the bold, colorful, and intricately detailed designs featured in the fashion show.

Can’t say there were any complaints about the bevy of barely clothed male models who stood watch during cocktail hour and walked the runway during the performance. We’ve never seen so many six-packs in a single night. 

But theatrics is only one facet of this event, which serves a very important purpose: to raise funds for HIV/AIDS supportive entities in North Texas. The mission never got lost amid the showmanship, thanks to impassioned speeches from House of DIFFA event chair Sami Abboud and board of trustees chair Chuck Steelman.

Also powerful were the messages sprinkled throughout the program — reminders such as “an average of 4,200 people in Texas are diagnosed with HIV every year” and “60 percent of new HIV diagnoses in Dallas County are under the age of 35.” We may know more than ever about HIV, but there is still work to be done.

Which is why advocates gave generously in the live and silent auctions and during the Fund-A-Grant. For the latter, special guest Natasha Bedingfield — who had just taken us all back with performances of “Pocket of Sunshine” and “Unwritten” — remained on stage to encourage people to open their hearts and wallets. And they did, exceeding the Fund-A-Grant goal of $100,000.

Another highlight from the evening was the George Michael tribute that had everyone singing along to songs like “Faith” as models strutted the runway in looks from Traffic LA. Headington Companies was the title sponsor for the fourth year in a row, so fashions from Traffic, as well as TenOverSix and Forty Five Ten, figured prominently during the show.

But the fun didn’t stop when the last person took a bow. Attendees — including members of the 2017 Style CouncilCary and Mark Deuber, LeeAnne Locken, Gina Ginsburg, Suzanne and Richard Rawlings, Krystal and Tommy DeLano, Kameron Westcott, Samantha Wortley, Gilbert Barron, David Andrews, John McGill, Julie Loyd, and Clint Bradley — simply headed around the corner to the after-party, where DJ Lucy Wrubel was spinning.

Founded in 1984, the Dallas chapter of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS has provided funds to more than 25 frontline AIDS service organizations in North Texas, which serve over 23,000 men, women, and children in the area who are living with or are affected by AIDS.

House of DIFFA 2017
Style Council Ambassador Suzi Lebeau Photo by WJNPHOTO
Melissa Enriquez, Brian Ramos
Melissa Enriquez, Brian Ramos Photo by WJNPHOTO
Mark Deuber, Cary Deuber
Mark Deuber, Cary Deuber Photo by WJNPHOTO
LeeAnne Locken, Gina Ginsburg
LeeAnne Locken, Gina Ginsburg Photo by WJNPHOTO
Julie Lloyd, Clint Bradley
Julie Lloyd, Clint Bradley Photo by WJNPHOTO
Billy Fulmer, Shane Walker
Billy Fulmer, Shane Walker Photo by WJNPHOTO
Suzanne Rawlings, Richard Rawlings
Suzanne Rawlings, Richard Rawlings Photo by WJNPHOTO
David Chadd, Brad Pritchett
David Chadd, Brad Pritchett Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kimberly Collins, Dennis Collins
Kimberly Collins, Dennis Collins Photo by WJNPHOTO
Kristin Smith, Kimberly Aston
Kristin Smith, Kimberly Aston Photo by WJNPHOTO
Morgan Cox, Susan Gosslee
Morgan Cox, Susan Gosslee Photo by WJNPHOTO
Nardos Imam, Bina Palnitkar Patel, Delayna Minter
Nardos Imam, Bina Palnitkar Patel, Delayna Minter Photo by WJNPHOTO
Phillip Parker, Chartese Baxter
Phillip Parker, Chartese Baxter Photo by WJNPHOTO
Yasmeen Mohamed, Rarnia Mohamed
Yasmeen Mohamed, Rarnia Mohamed Photo by WJNPHOTO
Lindsey Flynt, Garret Flynt
Lindsey Flynt, Garret Flynt Photo by WJNPHOTO
Melanie Till, Adam Till
Melanie Till, Adam Till Photo by WJNPHOTO
Jacob Bundick, Freddie Valderrama
Jacob Bundick, Freddie Valderrama Photo by WJNPHOTO
Catherine Cox, Lauren Havens
Catherine Cox, Lauren Havens Photo by WJNPHOTO
Ashley Warnick, Jessica Joyner
Ashley Warnick, Jessica Joyner Photo by WJNPHOTO
Sarita Rowe Davy, Stephen Giles
Sarita Rowe Davy, Stephen Giles Photo by WJNPHOTO
James Leonard, Brittney Bennett, Steve Deskin
James Leonard, Brittney Bennett, Steve Deskin Photo by WJNPHOTO
Neil Patel, Will Kornegay
Neil Patel, Will Kornegay Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
Sami Abboud Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
The George Michael tribute was a highlight of the show. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
The show also featured a ballet performance. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
One of many barely clothed models. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA is famous for the fashion show. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
Models of all kinds strutted their stuff. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA had an Arabesque theme for 2017. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
The fashion show finale. Photo by WJNPHOTO
House of DIFFA 2017
Melissa Enriquez, Brian Ramos
Mark Deuber, Cary Deuber
LeeAnne Locken, Gina Ginsburg
Julie Lloyd, Clint Bradley
Billy Fulmer, Shane Walker
Suzanne Rawlings, Richard Rawlings
David Chadd, Brad Pritchett
Kimberly Collins, Dennis Collins
Kristin Smith, Kimberly Aston
Morgan Cox, Susan Gosslee
Nardos Imam, Bina Palnitkar Patel, Delayna Minter
Phillip Parker, Chartese Baxter
Yasmeen Mohamed, Rarnia Mohamed
Lindsey Flynt, Garret Flynt
Melanie Till, Adam Till
Jacob Bundick, Freddie Valderrama
Catherine Cox, Lauren Havens
Ashley Warnick, Jessica Joyner
Sarita Rowe Davy, Stephen Giles
James Leonard, Brittney Bennett, Steve Deskin
Neil Patel, Will Kornegay
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017
House of DIFFA 2017