Toronto loves its charity galas, and no two fundraising events get more affection from our see-and-be-scene-sters than the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery 's annual Power Ball and the AIDS Committee of Toronto's Fashion Cares extravaganzas. They stack the first weekend of June with two opportunities to pair style with substance and party for a cause.
This year's Power Ball on June 1 flaunted a Gorgeously Flawed theme, with guests decked out in fashion faux pas wailing at a rowdy karaoke station and getting a fluffy boxing-ring beat down from cushion-slapping members of the Pillow Fight League .
Every fashion mag in town fought for photos of best-dressed guests (our picks will appear next week in a special My Style featuring great wardrobe moments from the Power Ball and Fashion Cares), and the night was capped by performers trip-walking along the gallery's walls mimicking the tipsy culture vultures making their way back to the open bar.
I expected my first live trip to Fashion Cares on June 3 to be a similar schmooze-fest. My first Fashion Cares memory is of watching RuPaul power-strut down the catwalk at the Moss Park Armoury on Rogers 10%-Qtv on my parents' family-room television in Etobicoke. That was its 10th anniversary, in 1996, and this year Fashion Cares turned 20 and presented a luscious look back for an estimated crowd of 5,000 at the Metro Convention Centre .
A pre-show dinner highlighted the generosity of patrons (a trip to see Madonna's Confessions show in London, England, earned $22,000 in the live auction), and a video retrospective celebrated outgoing creative director Phillip Ing . Ing's two decades of decadent and debauched themes, including striped tumblers from 2002's Circus Circus and body-painted bawdies from 2003's Casino , floated, slinked and danced down the catwalk.
Rumours of a top-secret finale (it's got to be Madonna!) rumbled all night, but the closing number skipped a big-name spectacle. An army of red-gowned glamazons circled the AIDS-ribbon-shaped runway, and the Philosopher Kings and Divine Brown belted it out, paying thanks to the local fashion and entertainment talents that have always been the real stars of the show.