Marie Antoinette-inspired fashions, dynamic drag divas, priceless live auction experiences, burlesque dancers — over-the-top doesn’t even begin to describe House of DIFFA, the fashion and awards show presented by Joule Dallas, benefiting North Texas HIV/AIDS charities.
The reception area at the Hilton Anatole quickly filled up with dressed-to-impress supporters, who were giddy with anticipation for the 2013 collection. Guests grabbed cocktails and posed for pictures before heading into the opulently styled Trinity Ballroom to peruse and bid on the dozens of jackets and garments on display. Among the participating designers were Isaia, Rebecca Minkoff, Anne Fontaine, Diane Von Furstenberg, Billy Reid and Tory Burch, as well as locals like Jim Duran, Paulette Martsolf, Geoffrey Henning and Nicolas Villalba.
Emcee Ron Corning, sporting a black blazer with sparkling lapel, warmed up the crowd and thanked sassy style guru Steve Kemble for dressing him in the Traffic LA ensemble. An inspirational video presentation about HIV and AIDS awareness followed, captivating the enthusiastic audience that included Lynn and Allan McBee, Vivian and Alberto Lombardi, Courtney Kerr, Mary and John Gill, Brendan Higgins, Hamilton Sneed, Brandt Wood, LeeAnne Locken, Lisa Petty, Laura Noble, Clarice Tinsley, and Stephen Giles.
As guests finished their dinner, they were treated to heartfelt opening remarks from collection chairman Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak, and they were introduced to proud DIFFA/Dallas Style Council ambassadors. Chairman Clint Bradley, on behalf of the entire board of trustees, thanked everyone who made the event possible. When chairman emeritus Greg Johnson invited David Cadwallader, Stephen MacMillan Moser and Keith Carlisle to the stage to accept their well-deserved awards, the crowd cheered.
Later, honorary chair Linda Gray joined auctioneer Mike Jones for the live auction, which included a Timothy Oulton makeover, exciting international getaways and a purebred Arabian show horse. While onstage, Gray thanked board trustee Debra Nelson for asking her to join the cause about which both women are so passionate.
The incomparable Jan Strimple produced the equally incomparable fashion show that followed, showcasing looks from TenOverSix and Traffic LA, as well as a finale of exquisite fashions inspired by 18th century France. Drag queens also strutted their stuff on the runway, preceding a provocative surprise performance from Ukrainian sex pots Kazaky.
The four members of Kazaky — Stas, Oleg, Kryll and Artyr —have been friends since childhood and believe in dancing as a freedom of expression. Oleg calls it “macho masculinity,” but we call it “sex on heels,” as they all flaunt their lean, glistening bodies while wearing skin-tight pants and sky-high kicks.
How do they manage those moves on such painfully high stilettos? “Perseverance and passion,” according to Oleg.
The final performance of the evening came from a Dita von Teese look-a-like, who did a sexy and intimate burlesque number in a giant champagne glass — an apropos ending to the seductive show.