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BEHIND THE SCENES

Model Benefit for Children

October 06, 1994|ROSE APODACA JONES

Organizers of Sunday night's Kathy Ireland & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Harper's Bazaar Celebrity Fashion Gala to benefit Athletes & Entertainers for Kids couldn't have fit in another party feature if they had tried.

The black-tie event at the festively decorated Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine entertained 400 guests with live jazz, big band, blues, reggae and disco; a casino; a gourmet buffet from a half-dozen of O.C.'s finest kitchens; award presentations, and a show of haute couture. Unfortunately, none of the guests got into the Roaring '20s theme the invitations touted--unless you count all the silky silver and copper slip dresses, most too short for even a flapper. No surprise, black was everywhere.

After a series of (yawn) corporate thank-yous presented by Ireland and Abdul-Jabbar, the most touching moment of the evening came when Jeanne White presented Olympic gold medal diver Greg Louganis with the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Humanitarian Award, an honor inspired by White's son, who died of complications of the disease in 1990. In return, Louganis gave White, who has become a tireless AIDS-awareness activist, one of his gold medals from the 1988 Olympics.

The fashion show, produced by Nordstrom, followed with both professional models and well-known athletes cruising the catwalk in duds by Donna Karan, Richard Tyler, Missoni, Calvin Klein, Thierry Mugler and others. Clothes for almost every occasion were represented. Classic business suits looked entirely modern in deep browns (including pin stripe), smoky grays and checks. For him, shoulders were cut clean and close and, for her, trousers looked new in slim silhouettes.

Weekend wear was thoroughly active: plaid, flannel-like coats, corduroy separates, tweed five-button vests and Alpine print sweaters. There were even some signs of glamour with velveteen corsets over ribbed Tees and down coats lined with faux fur. The hottest pieces, however, happened to be anything lined or trimmed with shearling.

For fun, a pop series unfolded with leather corsets and berets, brightly colored suits and metallic-swirled velvet. Evening took a more subtle, graceful approach with beautiful black column dresses exposing a back here, a decolletage there. And for him, tuxedos made individual statements with personal touches such as a silver and black checked vest.

Footnote: You can ignore everything else as long as you get into a pair of boots this season. Low and high chunky heels were shown with suits, casual wear and some evening wear.

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