Sharon Stone brings in the bucks and male models strut at Passport 2003.


A runway throbbing with sound, a stage awash in pulsating lights and a parade of totally buffed-out guys wearing nothing but skivvies and a smile. No, it wasn’t heaven, but sometimes Macy’s annual Passport Gala sure comes close. Every year, the Barker Hanger is transformed into a fashion extravaganza to help in the fight against AIDS.

The evening kicked off with a glitzy cocktail do featuring delectable chow from top eateries like Crustacean, CafĂ© del Rey and Maple Drive. The show had a late start. But after a few pineapple martinis, no one seemed to care. Following the graze-a-thon, the crowd made its way into the bleacher seats, eager to see what surprises were in store. And we didn’t have to wait very long.

Basic Instinct beauty Sharon Stone played the part of relief pitcher. “I’m Liz Taylor’s sub,” she announced, waltzing up to the podium in her sexy black slip dress and towering stilettos. But hang on to your Gucci wallets – when it comes to playing the part of auctioneer, Ms. Stone is second to none. She can charm an unsuspecting soul out of 20K quicker than you can say “ice pick.” And she did. “We have to fight this fight with compassion,” she implored. “Compassion and cash.”

Her high-ticket items included $16,000 for the chance to get bootylicious in a music video, $20,000 for Lakers VIP suite and another 20K for a Movado watch. Not bad for a few minutes work.

Next it was on to fashion. And there’s no business like shoe business. Celebrity cobbler Stewart Weitzman kicked things off with fabulous footwear and a tribute to Hollywood. Slinky super blonds strutted down the catwalk in strappy rhinestone dazzlers. Other style makers taking part included Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss.

Kenneth Cole’s collection was a blast from the past, featuring ’60s-inspired creations. Just like the decade itself, there was something for everyone. There were oversized afros and thigh-high boots for Foxy Brown wannabes, pillbox hats and white gloves for lovers of Jackie O and fringe, embroidery and boas for aging members of the Woodstock nation. The scene was followed by a batch of brooding Matrix-type males, stomping and scowling in black trenches, headsets and wrap-around shades. The whole shebang wrapped up with a riveting performance by Liza Minelli, who belted out “Cabaret.”

The Macy’s and American Express Passport has been one of the country’s most successful fundraisers in the fight against HIV/AIDS, raising more than $17 million in the past 21 years.