AFTER the third successful Styleaid in 2000, the committee said, “let’s just do another two and that will make it five years”.
Seventeen years later, inaugural committee members Aly May (creative director), Annette Hasluck (chairwoman) and Mark Reid (event director) are putting the final touches on the 20th and final Styleaid that has raised more than $1.5 million for the WA Aids Council.
The fashion fundraiser has seen its way through divorces, new partners and children for the trio.
Ms Hasluck, of West Leederville, said her now 16-year-old son thought all mums went to Styleaid committee meetings while Ms May has not been able to enjoy an English summer with her grandchildren in the past two decades.
Mr Reid said the decision to make it the final Styleaid meant they could reflect on the past 19 years.
“That reflection on the highs and lows and everything in between allows us to go from year to year and normally we don’t think about that stuff,” he said.
“Because this year is an end of an era we do that reflecting and that’s been a really interesting part of the journey.”
Mr Reid has fond memories of model and singer Veronique Willing performing during the Aurelio Costarella runway parade in the early 2000s and Ms Hasluck recalls when Alex Lloyd performed the year he won an ARIA.
But Ms May grins when she remembers walking backstage on the morning of every event shouting at everybody, “why is there a scissor lift in my changing area?”
The Styleaid concept started in the US and the Victorian Aids Council picked up on it before the event came to Perth, where it has the longest history.
“We turned it in to something completely different,” Mr Reid said.
“Melbourne was a cocktail function with fashion but we knew Perth liked a sit down dinner.
“None of us knew if it would work in Perth.
“The reason why it’s worked is because the focus is on fashion in an environment that’s not about sales, it’s on the runway and people know they get to see a good show.”
While there was a strong focus on WA designers, makeup artists and models, Ms Hasluck said the committee always had the cause – the WA Aids Council – on their minds.
“I learn something new about the aids council every year,” she said.
“There’s education programs, they work with school leavers and prisons and these are what people don’t realise, it’s not just about working with HIV.”
Styleaid Icon is on Friday, August 4 at Crown Towers. For tickets, visit https://2017.styleaid.com.au.
In WA, 120 people were diagnosed with HIV to the end of June this year.