2015 DIFFA Style Council Ambassadors announced

chefAt a party Wednesday night at Neiman Marcus’ flagship store, DIFFA revealed the nine members of the Style Council for 2015. They are tasked with promoting the DIFFA cause and especially generating support for the gala next March 7, which will return to the Omni hotel.

In addition, to mark the 25th anniversary of DIFFA, seven Legends of Style were announced — former Style Council Ambassadors who have long supported the cause over the years in significant ways.

Here are the ambassadors and legends!

Style Council: Jenna Alexander, Jenn Clark, Norma Johnson, Scott Kehn, Debra Nelson, Ralph Randall, Shayne Robinson,  Jody Stein, Patrick Ware.

Legends: Simona Beal, Gillian Breidenbach, Don Gaiser, Rebecca Hallman, David Kiger, Matrice Kirk and Joe Pacetti, pictured.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Jennings Street Fall Festival

The weather has finally cooled down enough to make it seem like fall in North Texas, and the folks on Jennings Street in Fort Worth celebrated last weekend with the 2014 Jennings Street Fall Festival. Dallas Voice staff writer James Russell was on hand to get a few photos of the fun.

—  Tammye Nash

PHOTOS: Burgers & Burgundy fundraiser for DIFFA

The annual Burgers & Burgundy fundraiser came back to North Dallas, and honestly, every burgers and wine pairing was stellar. Here are some of the creations, their creators and guests.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DIFFA reveals Style Council, move to Omni for 2014 Collection

Style CouncilLast week at an event at Neiman Marcus, DIFFA/Dallas announced its slate of Style Council Ambassadors for House of DIFFA: Masquerade, which returns March 29. The local luminaries tapped for the honor include: Sami Abboud, David Biggar, Angela Choquette, Leslie Concors, Jennifer M. Kolstad, Lisa Lowery, John Pfifer Marrs, Matthew Minnick, Joseph Minton, Autumn Rich, Marcus Spears, Steve Stodghill, Shannon Sturdivant and Clarice Tinsley.

Style Council Ambassadors help DIFFA/Dallas educate the city about AIDS/HIV needs in North Texas. Ambassadors donate a minimum of 10 hours to various AIDS service organizations across North Texas to understand the community’s needs and make an impact and assist in fundraising efforts, including selling tables and spreading the word about DIFFA’s mission.

The next big public DIFFA event will be the Holiday Wreath Auction at Dallas Market Hall on Nov. 7. The 2014 collection will, for the first time in years, move out of the Anatole Hotel to the still-newish Omni Hotel Downtown.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DIFFA wreath auction returns

BB2 Prom and FormalDIFFA isn’t just about its spring couture collection. Each fall, designers create one-of-a-kind wreaths — from the uber-fabulous to the tastefully elegant — to be auctioned off in support of DIFFA’s HIV/AIDS work. (I bid on and won this one last year.) This year, the champagne-and-hors d’oeuvres soiree is set for Nov. 7, at Dallas Market Hall, from 6–9 p.m. Tickets are $75, but the real treat is placing the winning on a cool wreath.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from Burgers+Burgundy

Grace burger

This weekend was ripe with social events and fundraisers — not time to attend all of them, in fact. But the most filling was surely yesterday at DIFFA‘s fifth annual Burgers+Burgundy picnic.

Not only was it well attended (by Dallas star Linda Grey, no less!) but the burgers were delish. My favorite: Blaine Staniford, chef at Grace (and the just-opened Little Red Wasp in Cowtown), did a simple yet complex burger with a healthy (or rather, unhealthy) dollop of Port Salud cheese and a mushroom ketchup (not a ketchup at all, but a saucy reduction). It was designed to be paired with a hearty wine.

Other restaurants participating included Spoon (a catfish slopping joe), Five Sixty and Smoke (both of whom provided lamb burgers of very different flavor profiles), Nick & Sam’s, Max’s Wine Dive, Shinsei (which did a banh mi), Asador, Ranch 616 and 3015 Trinity Groves (the only one to also prepare a dessert, which was yummy, even though Steve Kemble ate all of them.)

The Hunter Sullivan Band provided the entertainment, with great vocals from Hunter. And the weather was perfect — a nice surprise, following the heavy rains on Saturday. And DIFFA announced the theme for next year’s collection as well: Masquerade. Get your mask ideas ready.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a theaterific week in Dallas, and don’t think the community doesn’t know it.

There are, of course, the usual opening and continuing runs, but if it seems like there’s more than most early Junes, that’s because the Theater Communications Group is holding its national conference in Dallas (with the DTC hosting) starting next week. That means the Festival of Independent Theatres moved up its start date by a month to give attendees a choice of new work to see. Meanwhile, over at Kitchen Dog they are mounting their own 15th annual New Works Festival, of which Se Llama Cristina is the mainstage production.

Up in Addison, WaterTower Theatre is about to open its new show, Black Tie, a family comedy directed by Rene Moreno, while in Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre’s Knock Me a Kiss addresses the controversial story of an outing that scandalized the African-American community in 1920s Harlem. That’s pretty gay, but not as gay as Sister Act, which continued Dallas Summer Musicals‘ season.

And in Fort Worth, native son Guy Stroman — one of the original cast members and creators of the musical Forever Plaid, pictured — returns to direct and choreography Casa Manana’s latest production, to coincide with the company’s gala.

For fun in a theater that doesn’t have any actual plays, see Public Radio icon Ira Glass at the Winspear on Saturday with his presentation Reinventing Radio. And Cowtown’s quadrennial presentation of the 14th Cliburn International Piano Competition is already under way. And over at Victory Park, Clint Mordecai opens an exhibit of his new artwork at the Cirque Apartments as a benefit for DIFFA Friday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fashion roundup

2photoLast Thursday was Dallas’ most fashionable day of the week — perhaps the year. On the heels of DIFFA the previous Saturday, three fashion events spread throughout the day captured our imaginations — and monopolized our time. (You can link to photos from all of the events here.)

It  started in the morning with the cancer fundraiser Dress 4 Yellow, a luncheon and runway show at the Adolphus Hotel. With most (but not all) fashions splashing shades yellow, it was a canary-like kick off to spring.

The only men’s fashions to walk the catwalk were from Nike Golf, but one of the highlights was the appearance of a cancer survivor among the male models. Two women, although cancer survivors, both showed off the fashions of the day, and all were stunning. But this event was less about fashion itself than about hope — a message spread especially poignantly during the luncheon by former NFL player Dhani Jones, dapperly decked in one of his own bowties, designed for the LiveStrong Foundation. Jones’ personal story of being touched by cancer added a serious and sobering moment to all the glam.

The afternoon benefited from beautiful weather and low winds for the outdoor “What to Wear” fashion show at Mockingbird Station. Hosted by DFWStyleDaily.com editor Lisa Petty, who led a panel commenting on the horseshoe runway of fashions available from retailers at the upscale development, it took on the theme of Las Vegas glitz, with the panel commenting on trends like layered necklaces and how to pack for a weekend in Vegas to maximize looks in a minimum of space. Plus appearances by members of FC Dallas soccer team added some beefcake. (Arnold Wayne Jones)

In the evening, fashions took wing at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, a creative and diverse range of designs turned up the heat on the runway for the annual Fashion Cited show, benefiting Legal Hospice of Texas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from Dress 4 Yellow, Mockingbird Station fashions

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from DIFFA’s runway show

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For the second year, DIFFA’s gala went toward the glam of smoking jackets — you saw a lot less denim than in previous years, but just as much skin, with a runway show that popped with fabulosity. The drag queens from the Rose Room probably got the biggest ovation when they took the stage in all-out ownership; touchingly, in the program they dedicated their performance to their recently passed colleague, Erica Andrews.

But drag wasn’t the only look — there were some rockin’ designs, from a French Revolution theme to sexy men’s clothes (the men sometimes in high heels themselves) and of course the auctioned jackets. Add to that Sue Ellen herself, Linda Gray, helping with the live auction portion, and it was an event worthy of gala.

See more pictures after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones