05/29/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT
So you thought you were hip, the kind of person who believes A is for attitude. Bet you're vague about vogueing though. After all, even those who vogue can't necessarily define this new dance trend (named after Vogue magazine), which combines touches of break-dancing bravado, Jane Fonda aerobics and the high-style gestures of a Christian Lacroix model elaborately posing on a runway to the beat of Madonna
. "Multiply the mood of a Richard Avedon photo by 10 times and take it to Harlem and you have vogueing," explains one observer of the trend, which has evolved out of the Harlem dress-up balls staged by black gays in the '60s. Now it seems this breathless display of haughty gazes, staccato arm movements and pretzel-like contortions is trickling downtown and capturing the imagination of—who else?—the fashion industry and the just plain fashionable.
When the Design Industries Foundation for AIDS set out this spring to raise some money, it decided to hold a full-blown voguers' ball at the Roseland Ballroom. For the first time, such style mavens as rocker David Byrne, fashion model Iman and writer Fran Lebowitz (who served as judges) were treated to vogueing as it was meant to be—not just a few jerky gestures at the corner of the dance floor, but rather full teams (called houses and sometimes named after the great ones like Chanel and Saint Laurent) performing elaborate choreography on the runway. Even the prizes had exceptional style—artists such as Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel designed the trophies.
The benefit raised $400,000 for the foundation—and everybody's dance-fashion consciousness. Vogueing, we now understand, "has to do with making yourself a little more extreme, fantasizing about yourself explains award-winning voguer Willie "Ninja" Leake, 28. So get with it: Turn up the music and pose.