Devotees descended on the Omni Dallas hotel to celebrate 25 years of fabulous fundraising with DIFFA, which helps fund HIV/AIDS service organizations in North Texas. The event always calls for daring, fashion-forward attire, and attendees obliged.
With champagne or cocktail in hand, guests walked the red carpet and followed the sparkle — straight to the silent auction area where the 2015 jacket collection was on display, featuring designs from Michael Faircloth, Armani Collection, Kate Spade New York, Forty Five Ten, J. Hilburn and many more. During the reception, partiers also snapped sexy photos at the step-and-repeat and in front of a display from sponsor Celebrity Cruises.
Once greetings were properly exchanged and auction bids securely placed, the crowd headed to the ballroom for the big show. After giving opening remarks, event chair Chuck Steelman welcomed special guest Monica Pedersen to the stage. The interior designer, author and HGTV star got personal, sharing how AIDS touched her family when she lost her sister to the disease. She encouraged everyone in the room to consider their sisters and others close to them when opening their checkbooks to give during the live auction and throughout the evening.
Before the fashion spectacle began, DIFFA Style Council Ambassadors and Legends of Style took their turns on the catwalk. These representatives — including Jennifer Patterson Clark, Shayne Robinson, Ralph Randall, Jody Stein, Scott Kehn, Debra Nelson, Norma Johnson, Patrick B. Ware, Jenna Alexander, David Kiger, Simona Beal, Gillian Breidenbach, Don Gaiser, Joe Pacetti, Matrice Kirk and Rebecca Hallam — are charged with raising awareness about the nonprofit and donating their time to AIDS service organizations. As such they are crucial to DIFFA’s fundraising efforts throughout the year.
The theatrical evening culminated in a rowdy runway show that wove together fashion from Traffic Los Angeles and pop culture moments from the past. Supporters rocked out to entertainers impersonating everyone from Beyonce to House of Pain to Gwen Stefani. The fashion-heavy finale featured futuristic looks that toasted to the future.
Spotted in the well-heeled crowd: Clint Bradley, Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, Pat Martin, Ceron, Ron Corning, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Katy and Lawrence Bock, Nancy Lieberman, Ese Azenabor, Cynthia Smoot, LeeAnne Locken, Melissa Rountree, Jef Tingley, Jerrett Morris, and Krystal and Tommy DeAlano.
More than 200,000 people in Texas live with HIV/AIDS. In 2014 alone, DIFFA Dallas granted $428,000 to nonprofit organizations supporting those living or affected by the disease they hope to eradicate.