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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

WALKING THE RUNWAY FOR A CAUSE

Fashion, fund-raising and glamour on tap for annual gala

Runway

Fashion, fund-raising and glamour on tap for annual gala

The Philadelphia Center’s 27th annual fund-raiser will feature 30 models walking the catwalk to support the prevention and treatment of HIV, AIDS and STDs. Fashion, Music, Art: Walking the Runway for the Cure will take place Saturday, July 16, at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino.

“We’ve built upon the successes of previous years; this year’s definitely going to be different,” said Philadelphia Center Director of Development Garrett Johnson. Models from Darcel Moreno will wear clothing from Dillard’s and jewelry from Clarkes Jewelers, hand-picked and accessorized for each outfit. Make-up artists from MAC Cosmetics and stylists from Joseph Guin Salon will complete the models’ looks.

“They’ll model outfits that show the diversity of our community,” Johnson said. Models will also don hats and fascinators. The hats were originally a partnership with the late designer Jane Ryder. Following her passing from gallbladder cancer, Auction Against AIDS Artistic Director Jacquelyn Barber continued the project. The hats – many reminiscent of the Kentucky Derby style – will be auctioned following the runway show.

“I was very good friends with Jane Ryder,” Barber said, who designed the hats following Ryder’s passing. “In the spirit of Jane Ryder, the hats came together.”

Chi Chi DeVayne, a top four finalist of Season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and Shreveport native, will be the fund-raiser’s celebrity model. DeVayne will perform twice during the show. Following last year’s auction, Barber’s goal was not only to have a fashion show, but to add a touch of fame, too.

“It was my goal to have a celebrity guest and take it up a notch,” she said.

The evening will feature several different raffles at a variety of price points. The fundraiser’s auction began as an art auction years ago; it has since evolved to include art and other items, working to celebrate the community’s artists and businesses. The After Party prize is the Barrel of Booze, including a wine barrel, beer barrel and liquor barrel. Clarkes Jewelers will sponsor the Glitterati Raffle, which will allow the winner to design a custommade, unique piece of jewelry at Clarkes.

This year’s draw down raffle, with tickets starting at $100, will showcase Struttin’ to New York, a trip to New York City for New York Fashion Week, the annual celebration of fashion and art in Manhattan.

That Girl DJ will provide musical entertainment; she specializes in electronic and hip-hop music.

“It’s a wonderful collection of people to make the fashion show happen,” Barber said.

In addition to traditional raffle prizes, guests can also participate in the Pave the Runway brick campaign. Guests can purchase a brick in honor of themselves or a loved one for the Serenity Garden at the organization’s Mercy Center. Founded in 1989, the center is a 24-hour permanent supportive housing program for formerly homeless individuals with HIV/AIDS. It is the only place of its kind north of Interstate 10 in Louisiana.

In celebration of the fashion-themed evening, The Philadelphia Center will give away a $50 bar tab through their Facebook contest. Participants can post pictures of the outfits they plan to wear to the event in Walking the Runway for a Cure Facebook event page. The photo with the most likes wins the bar tab. Participants must have submitted their photos by June 30.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at philadelphiacenter.org or at the door. The event begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m.

In addition to a night of fashion and fun, The Philadelphia Center also hopes the evening will raise funds for and empower those affected by HIV/AIDS. Funds from the event provide general and programmatic support for new and existing services. The Shreveport region, which includes Caddo, Bienville, Bossier, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Webster, Red River and Sabine parishes, ranks third in the state for new cases of HIV, according to 2015 data from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. There were 138 new cases of HIV in the region in 2015, with 83 coming from Caddo Parish.

“The organization is really for everyone in our community,” Johnson said, explaining why the event seeks to be a celebration of the community. Through education, prevention, treatment and empowerment, The Philadelphia Center works to ensure the community as a whole can come together to help those with HIV/ AIDS and prevent the spread of the disease.

Tara Bullock

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