You Gotta Love Diffa

What were you doing 20 years ago? 

Two decades ago, the founders of DIFFA, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last Saturday night at the Anatole, were desperately trying to save themselves, their friends and the world from AIDS. 

The night after the party, I tried to explain to my 18-year-old niece what DIFFA was all about. After going into the whole, Design Industry For Fighting AIDS thing, I just settled on the bottom line: people in the fashion and interior design business got together all over the country when their friends started dying of AIDs back in the 80s, and decided to do something about it. And they did it by designing and auction off a bunch of denim jackets each year. There's no cure yet, but being diagnosed with HIV is no longer a death sentence. The money from events likes these has gone to save a lot of lives. So thank God for DIFFA.

A bevy of beauties at my table, hosted by Sherle Wagner: from left, Debbie Doyle, Tiffany McKinzie (young interior designer to watch, I hear) and grand dame designer Harriet Adams, who is a hoot. Tiffany is wearing a 65-carat emerald in the cleavage of her Valentino gown (hello, Angelina Jolie), courtesy of Joe Pacetti

Joe wasn't at our table, but he was definitely there in spirit. That multi-colored necklace encircling Debbie's neck (at right) is nothing but diamonds -- the stones were blasted with lasers to give them brilliant color. Who knew.

This year's event was chaired by John Ahrens and Mark Stafford.

Also at my table were the inimitable Cole Smith and Sherry Hayslip. Sherry looks fabulous, doesn't she?

Michelle Nussbaumer gazing at the spectacular stage design...

and Bernard Nussbaumer.....

Our table host Will Kolb of Sherle Wagner was one of the evening's Style Council Ambassadors. Michelle just decked out the front of her store in fabulous Sherle Wagner wallpaper.

Bernard, a music video producer and director, just got back from Portland, Oregon where he went to coffee school. Have you ever heard of such? He's opening a Peace Coffee franchise in Frisco, a longtime dream of his to give back to the environment and the world...

The friendly face of Barney's New York in Dallas, Gary Jackson

The entertainment! I wish I knew who this was. I looked through the DIFFA brochure a million times and still couldn't find any mention. If anyone knows let me know.

Greg Clark in an Armani jacket and Gucci pants. 

Will showing off his bespoke jacket and diamonds on loan from Joe.

including this watch from Harry Winston.

and this 600 carat pave diamond cuff. 

Attorney John Reoch sashayed by, posing long enough for me to take his picture...

Val Harris and Christopher White having a blast....

Geoffrey Henning, who designed Val's beautiful citrus colored dress.....

I liked what he was wearing, so I took his picture. This is Grant Leeds, who hit the thrift stores right before the party and pulled together a Club Monaco black and white flowered shirt and black and white plaid H & M tie.

This is Jamie Jo Hayes (left) and Kandis Hutchinson, who just had a baby two weeks ago. You'd never know it from how great she looks.

Kandis' husband Bill Hutchinson, who said he couldn't wait to get back home to be with their new daughter. "This is Kandis' second night out in more than 9 months. I don't think she's ready to go home yet," he said.

I liked what they were wearing, so I took their picture, too. At left, Leah McCann in a dress by Abi Ferrin; and Breah Herzog in a creation that only she could wear, by Nicolas Couture.

While roaming around I bumped into Jack Sealy and Angie Barrett, whose spectacular apartment in One Arts is finally finished...

A denim jacket by Marilyn Stewart for auction.

Brian Bolke, who was desperately seeking someone lost in the crowd...

A detail of silk carnations on a denim jacket designed by Kay Unger

Debbie in a dyed python wrap (up for auction) and Will in a silk jacket embroidered with dragons, which he designed himself and had made by a tailor in Beverly Hills. And yes, that is a rope of diamonds around his neck.

Mary Bloom in vintage Diffa denim is still consulting for the Nasher store....

I have no clue who this woman is but don't you love this dress?

Ditto here.

Loyd Taylor clowning it up in a lynx stole jacket by David Andrew Nelson