Annual fundraiser gives a glimpse at runway fashions


Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 12:33 a.m.

From the runways of Europe to ... the Lincoln Middle School auditorium?

Facts

Fundraiser is Wednesday

  • What: Ebony Fashion Fair brings runway styles to Gainesville
  • When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: Lincoln Middle School auditorium
  • Tickets: $25
  • Contact: Tickets can be obtained at Caring and Sharing Learning School, 1951 SE 4th St. (372-1004) or any Zeta Phi Beta Sorority member
    Outfits range from the outrageous - one dress
    has a Swarovski-crystal striped bodice and skirt crafted from plastic - to the more mainstream, such as a '60s inspired minidress.

  • That's just the path some styles from designers such as Christian Lacroix, Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta will take when the 49th Annual Ebony Fashion Fair fundraiser returns to Gainesville Wednesday night. The nationally touring show, sponsored in Gainesville by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, will give area residents a glimpse at styles they don't often see around town.

    "It's something that we look forward to every year," says Verna Johnson, local publicity chairperson for the event.

    Outfits range from the outrageous - one dress has a Swarovski-crystal striped bodice and skirt crafted from plastic - to the more mainstream, such as a '60s inspired minidress.

    Ora White, local chairwoman for this year's show, credits the show's national producer and director, Eunice Johnson, with keeping the show on the cutting edge. Each year, Johnson visits Europe to choose the runway lineup.

    "She selects the most stylish, chic fashions for this show," White says. "It's just first class all the way."

    The show, which this year will tour 180 cities, began in 1956 as a small fundraiser for the Women's Auxiliary of a New Orleans hospital. It expanded and began touring in 1958 and has since raised more than $54 million for various charities. White, who has been involved with the show since Zeta Phi Beta first brought it to Gainesville more than 20 years ago, hopes this year's event will raise $6,000 to $7,000 for her sorority's scholarship program and March of Dimes.

    "This just fits in with our founding principles," says White, referring to the emphasis her organization places on education.

    But by all accounts, the show is more than charity - it's also a lot of fun. Tickets for the event include a subscription to either Ebony or Jet magazines and entrance into drawings for cosmetic prizes, a round-trip flight and a 2007 Ford Edge.

    The show's dozen or so professional models aren't bad to look at, either. White says the ladies in the crowd especially appreciate the male models.

    "They are drop dead gorgeous," she says.

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