Passport to fashion

This year, pairing fashion and compassion seems especially fitting.

In this recession environment, Macy’s Passport 2009 hits all the right upbeat notes.

San Francisco’s biggest annual runway show runs two nights — Wednesday for Bay Area high schools and Thursday with a gala evening open to the public.

The charity event, which typically benefits HIV/AIDS research, prevention and treatment, has an additional beneficiary this year. The “Macy’s Come Together” campaign is targeting hunger issues in the U.S.

Larry Hashbarger, Macy’s director of special promotions and producer of Passport, underscored the importance of reaching out to help the less fortunate, and “the idea of supporting one another, together, as we move forward.”

Passport is a fashion extravaganza that features the season’s latest designs, cutting-edge performances and celebrity appearances.

In addition to stalwarts like Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, American Rag, Tallia, Papi, Levi’s and Wacoal, Passport highlights breakout designers such as Rachel Roy.

Iconic beauty brand M-A-C, fresh from doing makeup for a record 33 designer shows at Fashion Week in New York, has volunteered a team of 20 makeup artists, led by master artist Victor Cembellin, to create runway looks for Passport’s 75 models and performers.

In nine themed segments, Passport presents a dynamic and dramatic mix of fashion, music, lights, dance and song.

DJ Rashida of MTV’s “Best Dance Crew” underscores Roy’s urban-chic designs; “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Brian Friedman directs three segments, including one with the Harajuku Girls.

There’s variety, too. In “Go Forth,” Levi’s designs are presented in contemporary dance, with poems by Karen Gibson Roc of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.”

Historic scenes and exotic locales are featured in “Casanova,” a number set in 18th-century Venice, Italy, featuring dance and aerial performances accompanied by operatic soprano Melody Moore. Tallia Orange’s designs are showcased.

A rain forest is the setting featuring b.tempt’d lingerie for women whereas Miami Beach is the setting for Papi for men.

Among the local organizations involved in “Macy’s Come Together” are Project Open Hand, which will serve food at the event. Vegetables from Glide Memorial Church’s rooftop garden also will be on the menu.

An auction to benefit UC San Francisco — to support the procurement of a pediatric AIDS social worker — is also on the program, along with guests from the AIDS Emergency Fund and San Francisco Food Bank.

Since it was established in 1982, Passport has donated more than $28 million for HIV/AIDS services, prevention and research.

IF YOU GO

Macy’s Passport

Where: Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday; 5:30 p.m. for preshow reception
Tickets: $125 to $1,000
Contact: (877) 252-7814, www.blueroomevents.com/passport

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