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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2003

Stars may opt for less flash Oscar night

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC television say the 75th annual Academy Awards will go on whether or not an invasion of Iraq is under way, the Oscar's glow may be dimmed.

There are indications that nominees and presenters will tone down their customary finery, trading festoons of diamonds and flashy gowns for an understated style tailored to more sober times.

Representatives of Giorgio Armani, who has for more than a decade dressed the stars on Oscar night, said the company fielded calls this week from actresses scheduled to present awards who requested dark suits or tuxedos as backup outfits for the gowns they plan to wear.

Armani, who was scheduled to visit the Oscars for the first time since 1991, himself canceled his trip last week. He was to be honored with a star on the Walk of Style on Rodeo Drive, modeled after the Walk of Fame, but organizers postponed it.

Academy Awards organizers have canceled the red carpet arrivals, and many celebrities had asked to use a back entrance, for fear of appearing publicly frivolous. ā€œSome of our clients are saying they don't want to be too obviously involved with something that is so about fluff, fashion and entertainment,ā€ said Stephanie Hamada, a spokeswoman for Tod's, the Italian luxury goods maker.

Ford: Honoree Ford: Honoree
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A fashion show to benefit the Aurora House, which had a major fire in January, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 12 in the ballroom of the Wyndham Hotel, Two SeaGate, in downtown Toledo. Fashions from Syl's Touch of Elegance will be featured, and the Universal New Beginnings Church of God in Christ will present its 2003 Dedication in Service Award to Mother Annette James. The church is the sponsor of the event, which also includes a silent auction, entertainment, and door prizes. Cynthia Ford, wife of Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, will also be honored.

Tickets are $25 for singles, and $45 for couples. Reservation deadline is April 5. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Aurora House; donations for the shelter will be accepted.

To reserve by mail, send checks to Universal New Beginnings COGIC, P.O. Box 6921, Toledo, OH 43612. Information: 419-476-8591.

As you change from winter to spring wardrobes, it's a good time to assess your closets' contents and do some culling. And if you find a few items that no longer fit or that you simply cannot stand anymore, consider donating them to someone who can use it.

Keep Toledo-Lucas County Beautiful, Inc., will begin its annual textiles drive April 1. The group will take used clothes, shoes, fabric, eyeglasses, and other textiles.

Usable clothes will be distributed to charities, and fibers from the rest will be recycled into roofing material, bond paper, and other items.

Collection hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from April 1-30 at the Erie Street Market, 237 South Erie St. A separate container for eyeglasses will be provided. The Salvation Army is coordinating the collection. Donations are tax deductible.

JCPenney at Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park will hold a hat trunk show from noon to 4 p.m. March 29 in the women's accessories department on the lower floor. The store will have a large display of Easter, spring, and summer hats by Aldo and Whittall & Shon. Two employees will be on hand to assist shoppers.



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