2 min

Golden dawn

Fashion Cares & the Over It Party

WHAT'S THAT ON MY HEAD? Headliner Patti LaBelle stole the show when she decided to toss her heavy head-dress. She also shushed local fan Screaming Gina and did an a cappella version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." Credit: David Hawe

The 18th Annual Fashion Cares fundraiser for the AIDS Committee Of Toronto rebounded this year. Ticket sales increased by 30 percent; more than $800,000 was raised by 5,600 attendees (including 1,400 volunteers).

The annual KFC or Kvetching about Fashion Cares was all about feather headdresses, boas and big hair – glamorous boyfriends were complaining yet again that this event is truly fowl.

The most exciting aspect of the main show was how local club legend Screaming Gina Loren grabbed the spotlight from screaming Patti LaBelle. Gina immediately started belting her usual arias when Patti came onto the stage. Patti then stopped and asked Gina to stop screaming so she wouldn’t lose her train of thought. Apparently the two go way back as Patti even mentioned Gina in a media interview the week before. By the end of Patti’s show – which was fearless – she gave the microphone over to Gina. This was a cute and brilliant gesture as it topped off a performance by a truly gifted singer and entertainer.

After 13 minutes of boring speeches, the show started off brilliantly with underground dance diva Jocelyn Brown singing her gospel-infused hit “Believe.” Other performers included Kristine W who was bumped up to perform double duty at the main party and afterparty as scheduled performer Martha Wash pulled a Madonna and cancelled at the last minute due to the stomach flu.

Host Linda Evangelista was seen only talking and not walking – this supermodel should have been on the catwalk. The actual fashion show, heavy on bathing suits, was totally uninspired, more cruise-ship than cruising. Highlights included the dozens of trained dancers, violinist Dr Draw and Toronto dance star Simone Denny belting out her hit Queer Eye theme song.

The biggest disaster came when the afterparty didn’t start until the following week. Usually when the main event ends, another room immediately opens up for the afterparty. This year, in what looked like a cost-saving move, the afterparty was held in the same space as the main show. The only problem was clearing the 5,000 chairs which took an astonishing hour and a half. By this point, it was christened the Over It Party. Those few hundred who did stick around witnessed a lengthy yet powerhouse performance by Kristine W. This girl knows how to work a room.

Lady Bunny was hilarious. And finally, by dawn, Lena Love proved once again why she’s the reigning diva of the night. Her edgy performance was a perfect ending to an event called Superstar Clublife. The real superstars of the evening were not the paid celebrities but Toronto’s own drag queens, performance artists, scenesters and designers such as Marty Rotman, Deko-ze, Rolyn Chambers, Rommel and Farley Chatto.