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DIFFA Dallas Hosts Annual Runway Benefit

The chapter has raised more than $5 million for area AIDS service organizations chiefly by auctioning denim jackets decorated or reworked by designers.

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HOUSE OF DIFFA: DIFFA Dallas went beyond denim at its annual runway benefit extravaganza Saturday before a sold out crowd of 1,400 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The chapter has raised more than $5 million for area AIDS service organizations chiefly by auctioning denim jackets decorated or reworked by designers. This time around, donors were invited to present any jacket to House of DIFFA Collection, while others imparted trips and a champion Arabian horse.

Contributors ranged from Tory Burch, Kenneth Cole, Rag & Bone and Diane Von Furstenberg to emerging Texas designers Abi Ferrin, Linda Asaf, Izavel and Prashe, while Edo Popken donated a bright yellow sport coat plus a visit to his Zurich atelier and his private 18th-century villa outside Paris. The final take: $900,000.

“It matches our best year ever, which was 2005,” said John Bobbitt, one of DIFFA’s style ambassadors. “I’d say the recession for charities is over.”

The always gleeful and over-the-top runway show, a labor of love by a cast and crew of 200, featured a surprise performance by four-man Kiev synth-pop group Kazaky dancing in black leggings and spike heels. It culminated in a Texas take on Marie Antoinette in a two-foot-high wig with an escort of bare-chested courtiers.

The show also highlighted fashions by TenOverSix and Traffic Los Angeles, which are both opening this spring downtown with the expansion of The Joule hotel, the event’s presenting sponsor.