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Fashion show for African famine relief

November 6, 1985

LONDON (AP) _ Royal Albert Hall was awash in fireworks, pop music, designer clothes and disco-dancing models Tuesday night as the fashion world made its fund-raising contribution to African famine relief.

But it was still too quiet for Bob Geldof, the rock singer who masterminded the Live Aid rock marathon and conceived the idea of Fashion Aid. ″I hate the Albert Hall. It’s too ... dead. Stay up 3/8 Get hip 3/8″ he shouted to the sell-out crowd of 6,000.

The crowd, which had just watched some 125 models display creations by 18 of the world’s top designers, gave Geldof a standing ovation. But their emotional pitch didn’t reach the frenzy of the Live Aid concert in July that raised about $70 million.

Fashion Aid came about after Geldof, the Boomtown Rats singer, talked British designer Jasper Conran into organizing a fashion industry extravaganza to help starving Africans.

″Its never been done before,″ said Conran, 25. ″This place is usually used for boxing matches but it works perfectly. We’re doing a spectacular show here.″

Models presented the latest collections by France’s Yves St. Laurent, Italy’s Giorgio Armani, Japan’s Issey Miyake, America’s Calvin Klein, Britain’s David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who designed Princess Diana’s wedding dress, and more than a dozen other British designers.

Gliding along the cross-shaped runway were Jerry Hall, a top model and girlfriend of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger; actresses Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston and Barbara Bach, members of the Spandau Ballet rock group and Culture Club singer Boy George.

Accompanied by Roman candles and other fireworks, Conran’s collection featured Lee Thompson of the British rock group Madness flying over the runway on a pulley in a bright orange jacket and electric green pants.

British designer Katharine Hamnett had torch bearers dressed like Buddhist priests in saffron robes escort her models, and Bruce Oldfield drew applause when eight body builders wearing towels marched onstage to flirt with his elegant mannequins.

The individual collections were presented by celebrities including actresses Grace Jones and Mariel Hemingway, actors John Hurt, Michael Caine and Patrick Duffy, and singer George Michael of Wham.

Fashion Aid organizers said they hoped to raise the equivalent of $1.4 million from ticket sales, T-shirt sales and donations. Tickets ranged from $10.50 to $175.

Organizers said ticket sales raised about $700,000, but Geldof put the figure at only $210,000.

The organizers also hope to raise $2.8 million from video sales of the show and from the sale of Fashion Aid T-shirts created by each of the 18 designers.

At the end of the show, Geldof received two checks, one for more than $2 million raised by the Live Aid concert in Japan and another $140,000 raised from a sale of rock memorabilia by Cathy McGowan, who had a British television rock show in the 1960s.

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