To call it over-the-top is putting it mildly. This year's 20th
anniversary DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS)
Dallas "Utopia" extravaganza had ballerinas, Bollywood dancers,
cotton-candy-haired lollipop girls and one feather-headdressed
supermodel (Jan Strimple!) rocking the runway (props to creative
director Brian Brothers of Planet Productions).
Other notables at the Hilton Anatole fundraising gala: a towering
J. Alexander, a.k.a. Miss Jay from America's Next Top Model
(arm-in-arm with DIFFA honorary chair Anna Pettus), and Mike
Modano with wife, singer-actress Willa Ford. "I am floored by
this event," said Ford, one of several chic locals on this year's
DIFFA Style Council. "I didn't know what to expect. This is the
most fun event I have ever been to in Dallas."
More than 1,500 attendees braved Saturday night's downpour to
party and place silent-auction bids on hundreds of creatively
customized denim jackets, benefiting HIV/AIDS organizations
across North Texas. Abi Ferrin's denim number garnered $20,000 in
a package that also included afternoon tea, shopping at Highland
Park Village's Carolina Herrera boutique, a $5,000 Barneys New
York gift card and a Botox treatment. Other live auction items
that earned big bucks: designs from J.C. Penney creative director
Geoffrey Henning and Dallas-based designer Nicolas Villalba.