Macy’s Passport 2008

Macy’s Passport 2008, commemorating an iconic quarter-century of unparalleled men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, state-of-the art theatrics, celebrity guests and unwavering dedication to our HIV/AIDS community. Since the onset of the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980’s, Macy’s in steadfast partnership with our sponsors, top designers and community organizations has raised invaluable awareness and over $27 million toward saving lives.

Now in its 26th year, Macy’s Passport is the result of fashion and compassion joining forces for the common good. One of the best-loved fashion theatre events in America, it’s also the one with the biggest heart.

It all began in 1980, when Macy’s presented “GQ Live,” a men’s fashion show featuring American designers in the employee cafeteria of Macy’s San Francisco. The initial audience totaled 300 people large, to ensure that the following year, an “American Designers” show was held in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Union Square Park.

Creative wheels started to turn and the vision grew. More than 2,000 supporters attended the 1983 show, making it official Macy’s Passport was a hit!

In 1987, Hollywood legend and AIDS activist Dame Elizabeth Taylor made her debut appearance at Macy’s Passport, elevating the show to a new level. One year later, the show stepped up again. Macy’s, in a pivotal and pioneering move, turned Passport into a benefit for six Bay Area AIDS agencies, thereby becoming one of the first companies in the United States to recognize the need for AIDS fundraising and to shine a light on the intensity of the pandemic.

By 1992, Macy’s Passport hit its stride with the 10th Anniversary show featuring supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington on the runway. Swatch, one of the show’s sponsors, released a limited-edition watch designed by Vivienne Westwood, sales of which helped triple Passport’s previous fundraising efforts. All told, $250,000 was donated to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Shanti Project.

By the mid ’90s, Macy’s Passport became known as a unique and powerful fashion fundraiser. With its reputation spreading far outside of San Francisco, the show went on the road and became an annual event in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Building yearly on its success, in 1996, with help from Founding Chair Dame Elizabeth Taylor and basketball star and HIV/AIDS activist Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Macy’s Passport raised a record-breaking $1.5 million. Hollywood embraced the event, and over the years, the celebrities who’ve graced the stage reads like the “A list”: Sharon Stone, Annette Bening, Tyra Banks, Macy Gray, Cindy Crawford, Tina Turner, Will Smith, Liza Minnelli, k.d. lang, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Combs and Mary J. Blige. The best and the brightest names from the world of fashion have also taken Macy’s Passport to heart, with Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors lending their talents. Every year Macy’s Passport shined causing audience members to wonder how the show could possibly top itself…

But top itself it did! In 2000, Macy’s invited this talented musical dance group of Ugandan orphans, to perform at that year’s show. It was an obvious and natural partnership to all those involved with Passport. As orphans of AIDS, these young people knew first-hand of the devastation caused by the pandemic; as gifted performers, they understood the talent and presence necessary to capture the stage. With their performance at Macy’s Passport, the children electrified the crowd demonstrating the power of the human spirit to transcend adversity and ultimately gain victory over this terrible disease.

In 2007 Passport celebrated its 25th anniversary, surpassing $27 million raised for the HIV/AIDS organizations that serve our local communities.

It is in the spirit of Macy’s Passport that we continue our mission of AIDS fundraising on a worldwide stage. We salute all those who have the vision, courage and compassion to make a positive difference in the world and thus, change the future of HIV/AIDS.

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