Glamour Gals and Pretty Pals Walk the Runway to Raise Fashion Cents for Famine Relief
Inspired by his friend Bob Geldof's Live Aid efforts, London designer Jasper Conran persuaded Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and 17 others to show their wares at Albert Hall. Then the designers corralled Jane Seymour, Anthony Andrews and Jerry Hall (who burst onstage from a gift-wrapped box) to strut their well-clad stuff before a crowd that included Ringo Starr, Mariel Hemingway and Michael Caine.
It proved fitting that the spirited show—including actual fireworks—was held on a holiday named for Britain's notorious 17th-century rebel Guy Fawkes. After coming onstage from the royal box he shared with the Duchess of Kent, iconoclastic do-gooder Geldof exhorted the staid audience to raise a little hell. When the response was slight, Geldof shouted: "I hate the Albert Hall! It's too f—ing dead!" The Duchess kept a straight face. But few others managed such composure during a display of Issey Miyake designs. As models in bathing suits splashed water on the runway, one of them slipped and flew off the stage, landing at the feet of actor Christopher Lee.
Guy Fawkes would have loved the pandemonium at the Palladium, where the audience jostled sometimes violently for viewing positions. "I'm gonna kill this woman if she nudges me again," one spectator vowed. When a man passed out in the crush and was helped to an uncrowded area reserved for photographers, an onlooker said, "He just did it to get more space."
Not to be outdone by Boy George, who had modeled a black smock and tights in London, Boy's pal Marilyn created a sensation at the Palladium wearing a black-sequined coat with star-spangled boxer shorts underneath. "I don't like modeling that much," Marilyn said. "But this is for a worthy cause. Modeling is so bitchy. It's like an empty void. The people here have nothing to say." Betsey Johnson, one of the top designers on hand, disagreed. "It's incredible to get everyone together. It's never happened in the 20 years I've been around," she said. "People need to care about something outside themselves."
Annie Flanders, publisher of the fashion magazine Details, and Sandy Hill Pittman, president of the In Fashion video company, gathered fashion's hip new wave for the splashy New York show. Andie MacDowell, the dark beauty from St. Elmo's Fire, sported a Stephen Sprouse black denim mini-dress. Donovan Jr., looking every bit the heartthrob his singer dad once was, trod the boards in a tunic by Bayard stamped with giant dollar-bill patterns.
As the press crowded around fashion maven Princess Stephanie, who emerged from Palladium co-owner Steve Rubell's private office, others tried to keep the cause in mind. "Starvation," Pittman said, "is not a fad. And neither should fund-raising be. To say, 'Haven't we had enough fund-raising?' as if it were an old commercial on TV, doesn't hold up. We have to continue until the problem is solved." Okay, so where's the next party?