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FS: 20 years of Fashion Cares Book/Mag [mint]


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As milestones go, Fashion Cares' 20th-anniversary gala tonight in Toronto will inspire mixed emotions.

A remarkable achievement will be jubilantly celebrated. Two decades ago, a stunned fashion industry watched its own perish in shocking numbers from a mysterious disease that became the epidemic now known as HIV/AIDS. In an emotional response, they united to fundraise for a new organization, the AIDS Committee of Toronto, creating what would become an internationally renowned charitable extravaganza.

"We use the word 'celebrate,' to thank all the contributors who have made Fashion Cares so successful for so long,' says artistic director and show producer Phillip Ing. For Ing, who has helmed the event for 19 out of 20 years, tonight will doubtless inspire mixed emotions, too; this is his swan song.

Ing is quick to point out that the fun fantasy will be doused by reality when the XVI International AIDS Conference arrives in Toronto in August. "Right behind Fashion Cares arrives an army of 20,000 people to deal with a global epidemic that still has no end in sight."

Ing led his own army the inaugural year in 1987 when the event was still a little fashion show and fete at a nightclub: 400 attendees raised $40,000 for ACT.

What a difference two decades makes. Fashion Cares has since raised more than $9-million, and this evening 5,000 guests will fill the cavernous Metro Toronto Convention Centre along with 1,000 volunteers, making it the largest volunteer event in North America. Ing hopes to break the $10-million mark.

Fashion Cares has also spawned a fundraising franchise, with sister events in Los Angeles and San Francisco, sponsored by Macy's, Minnesota holds an annual gala called Diva, while New York City has thrown its own wild AIDS fundraiser for 16 years, Broadway Bares.

To mark this year's anniversary, 20 Years Of Fashion Cares 1987-2006, a limited-edition coffee table book chronicling the event's history will sold tonight for $40.

"It's more of a backstage reminiscence than front of house," says Ing, who edited the book, referring to the hundreds of photos of past events and interviews with celebs who attended over the years, from kd lang to Claudia Schiffer.

The book also documents fashion history, showing the donated efforts of designers ranging from Canadians Wayne Clark and DSquared to international stars such as Alexander McQueen.

Broadway diva Jennifer Holiday returns to the stage tonight, along with M.A.C spokeswoman Pamela Anderson and a headliner being kept under wraps. Says Ing, "Fashion Cares has always been about surprises."

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The book includes:

132 pages, edited by Fashion Cares Artistic Director Phillip Ing.
Over 600 photographs from past Fashion Cares events.
Signature images by photographers such as Herb Ritts, Walter Chin, George Whiteside, Deborah Samuels, Mike Ruiz, Raphael Mazzucco and Chris Nicholls, plus illustration by Maurice Vellekoop.
Over 20 original shots by photographers re-interpreting past event themes – with archival prints available for sale in the silent auction within the Retrospective Gallery.
Over 100 interviews with designers, performers, volunteers and committee members, including Dean & Dan, Frank Toskan, Brian Gluckstein, Patti Labelle, Syd Beder, Lynn Franks and Jeanne Beker.