Benefit beat goes on

Fashion show and song round out event

While the American Cinematheque Award gala scheduled for Saturday was postponed until Oct. 28th, the Macy’s & American Express Passport ’01 AIDS fund-raiser at Barker Hangar carried on. “One catastrophe shouldn’t prevent us from stopping another catastrophe,” said Macy’s CEO Jerry Sullivan.

As he circulated through the tables greeting guests at the pre-show dinner, co-host Magic Johnson said it was imperative to hold the benefit that netted $2.5 million “because the money we raise here goes to care for people with HIV/AIDS. This pays for medicine, it pays for rent — if we don’t do this people die. There’s no sugarcoating it.”

The evening’s centerpiece is a fashion show and while runway modeling combined with a respect for recent events produced some incongruous moments (the crowd watched the divinely unclad DKNY underwear models walk through steam and then a few minutes later were asked to rise, hold hands and sing “God Bless America”), overall the event ran smoothly.

Perfs came from Macy Gray, Gregg Rollie and Reba McEntire, remarks from Sullivan, Amex’s Susan Griffin and co-host Elizabeth Taylor; the fashion show also featured designs from Jessica McClintock, Joseph Abboud and Phat Farm.

Among the 900 at the dinner catered by Along Came Mary and the 3,000 at the show were Michael Cooper, Will Smith, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee, Carmen Electra, Cheryl Hines, Jackie Collins, Barry Krost, Naomi Campbell and David Blaine.

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