Flirting with the Boys!


‘Heavenly Bodies’ – Remembering Hollywood & The Greatest Fashion Designers of this Era to benefit AIDS fundraising efforts with APLA & The California Fashion Industry.   

Book by Michael Anketell:


Flirting with the Boys!

Flirting with the Boys!  And hugging Mike Anketell, Friend and Producer of these shows for APLA & CA Fashion Industry.


Not so long ago friends came together within the California Fashion Industry to take action for a cause greater than themselves.  Too many beautiful people were dying from AIDS and we had to do something…anything that would make a difference. 


One day during my decade with W Magazine, as head of the Western U.S. and Canada,   a sweet young man that I knew approached me and asked for my help.  He was a friend and shared with me his vision for bringing together the very best of International Fashion Designers with a yearly fundraising Fashion Show that would rock the California coastline.  And it did.  I immediately said YES, and asked “How can I help?  What can I do? How can I lend a hand?” Within a single day I joined the Executive Committee of Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA) & The California Fashion Industry and lent a hand here and there, wherever I could.  But it was my friend Mike who made all the magic happen.  

He seamlessly created events, year after year with everyone involved with the California Fashion Industry and APLA.  Mike brought together the hottest International Fashion Designers with the leaders of the California Fashion Industry and worked tirelessly for a decade to create a platform that everyone would Love and Appreciate.  More importantly, he was a master designer in producing these shows and managing to help raise more than $12 Million for APLA.  A lot of money in those days.  No small feat!  Mike’s courage and strength, along with his charm and tenacity was undeniable.  He knew what had to be achieved, and was aware of the importance of the runway stage and the hottest fashion designers to bring it all to life. Especially in California and the West Coast.

These were the Designer Events produced for 10 Years & the Celeb’s and Model’s that attended, or walked the runways.  (The names are solely listed to show the support of everyone in this Industry who cared enough to make a difference, and contributed to the legacy of the California Fashion Industry and APLA.)  Thank You!


The California Fashion Industry – Friend’s of APLA began in 1987. Shows included:

  • Adrian: A Retrospective (Adrian was the highest paid costume designer in Hollywood in the 30′-50’s and dressed Garbo, Garland, Crawford, Norma Shearer & Lucille Ball.) 
  • Geoffrey Beene: 25th Anniversary. Ali MacGraw introduced Mr. Beene and Celebs attending:  Jackie Collins, Elizabeth Montgomery, Linda Evans, Joan Rivers, Julie Andrews, Carol Kane, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John, etc.
  • Bob Mackie: A Retrospective with a tribute to Cher.  Celebs included Carol Burnett, Carol Channing, Diahann Carroll, Mitzi Gaynor, Michael York, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Jackie Collins, Pia Zadora, Juliet Prowse, etc.
  • The Best of Hollywood Costume Designers:  First Lady Nancy Reagan, Eddie Fisher, Betsy Bloomingdale, Jackie Collins, Carol Kane, Michael Landon, Sara Gilbert, Cyd Charisse, Tony Martin, Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle, director Morgan Mason
  • Gianni Versace: The Man and His Art; A Retrospective:  Celebs: Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Lauren, Johnny Depp, Quincy Jones, Rod Stewart, Richard Gere, Cindy Crawford, Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock, Rosanna Arquette, George Peppard, artist David Hockney, Lanie Kazan, Sylvestor Stallone, Jane Seymour, Pierce Bronson, Paula Abdul, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Shari Belafonte, director Joel Schumaker, Pattie Lupone, Dennis Hopper, JoBeth Williams, etc.
  • Thierry Mugler: A Retrospective:  Celebs:  Rod Stewart, Sharon Stone, Diana Ross, Dana Delaney, Daryl Hannah, Jackson Browne, Celia Cruz, Carol Kane, Jackie Collins, Linda Hamilton, director James Cameron, Debi Mazar, Lesley Anne Warren, Sandra Bernhard, Ivana Trump, etc.
  • Calvin Klein and Tina Turner at the Hollywood Bowl:  16,000 guests, 300 models & 3,000 for dinner!  Celebs:  Angela Bassett, Mark Wahlberg, Ali MacGraw, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Elizabeth Taylor, David Geffen, Barry Diller, Jacqueline Bissett, John Kennedy Jr., Julie Newmar, Beverly Johnson, Linda Gray, Vidal Sassoon, Kate Moss, Carolyn Bessette, etc.
  • Isaac Mizrahi and K.D. Lang at the Chinese Theater:  Celebs: Yves St. Laurent, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Anjelica Houston, Natalie Cole, Johnny Depp, Linda Evangelista, Christina Applegate, Kelly Lynch, Jackie Collins, Lauren Bacall, Raquel Welch, Juliette Binoche, Mickey Rourke, Cameron Diaz, Jeff Bridges, Paloma Picasso, Goldie Hawn, Wayne Gretzky, director Rob Reiner, director Jerry Bruckheimer, Ellen Barkin, Dan Aykroyd, Donna Dixon, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrera, Jennifer Tilly, producer Jon Peters,  model Vendela, etc.
  • Gianfranco Ferre and Liza Minnelli:  Celebs:  Leonardo DiCaprio, Patrick Dempsey, Carol Alt, Melanie Griffith, Fran Drescher, Kelly LeBrock, Virginia Madson, Antonio Sabato Jr., Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, James Spader, Julie Andrews, Mark Wahlberg, Joan Jett, Rod Stewart, Rachel Hunter, Jackie Collins, Barbara Davis, Peter Marc Jacobson, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Jason Bateman, Mrs. Frank Sinatra, Olivia Newton John, etc.
  • Todd Oldham with Susan Sarandon:  Celebs:  Fran Drescher, Naomi Campbell, Elizabeth Berkley, Lea Thompson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, David Hasselhoff, Brendon Fraser, Joan Rivers, Ali MacGraw, Julie Newmar, Herb Ritts, Sherry Lansing, John Malkovich, etc.


There were more shows and fundraising events that Mike coordinated and produced after these first ten years.  But these were the Best of the Best!  Golden memories of an era that influenced change and began a movement to help others, even with the most debilitating of diseases.  Lives were saved.  And people like Mike and everyone else who gave their Love, their time, their energy, their connections, and their passion for helping others and making a difference in the world, did actually accomplish a great goal, a great thing,  and a beautiful Rainbow at the end of this decade. We all came together for one cause, and that was to help and to heal others with AIDS.  This was our journey of Oneness.  This is what it’s all about.  Helping others.  


Times change. People change. Lives change.  Even Industries change.  And the world changes with them.  People move on.  And they retire.  At the end of my Decade with W Magazine, I knew it was time to move on and create my own Business. One decade was enough after great visionaries like Mr. John Fairchild retired.  This inspiring, funny, and creative man whom I adored and knew, flew the coop!  That was my sign that it was time to move on.  Forward. Onwards. Upwards.  And so I did.  Thank God!  I take such lovely memories with me, including this amazing and extraordinary time with John Fairchild and my decade with W Magazine.   Such a Blessing!

It’s been Grand! 

Flirting with the Boys!

Flirting with the Boys!  Rita Tanos & Mike Anketell at The California Fashion Industry – APLA Black Tie Event. 

The Sands of Time…

Taking a peek back while looking forward…


Dancing in the Sun - 2016 Photo Credit: Andrea Domjan Photography

(Photo: Andrea Domjan)


Sometimes in our lives there is a moment of surprise that takes our breath away.  We recognize the beauty all around us, in this present moment, even through sadness and loss.  The beginning of 2016 was like this for me.  Another Beloved family member had passed through the veils and all I could do was take a deep breath of life, feel gratitude for this present moment, and get on a plane to honor my Uncle Ted’s life with other close family members.  Many of them I had not seen since the passing of my Uncle Sandy at our last family gathering at Arlington National Cemetery. 


There was a feeling of peace within me, going home to Florida this time.  I felt such gratitude for my youth and the family and parents I grew up with.  I felt grateful for these beautiful white sandy beaches, and the many years I had spent walking them, often alone, trying to figure out my path and the next steps along my path.  Every day was a day of adventure in the ocean . . . swimming, water-skiing, diving, fishing, and just cruising on boats.  I felt such joy and happiness, just being alive.  All the boats and trips to the Bahamas and Caribbean were a plus, but it was here, in this place and along these white sandy beaches that I felt most at home as a child.


I checked in a day early to sit in silence and just feel the environment of my youth once again.  It was raining when I arrived and the decks and walkways leading out to the beach were full of gray mist.  I loved it.  Even in the soft gray of a storm passing, it was beautiful.  Young surfers come out to find a wave which reminded me of my youth on these Florida beaches.  As a young teenage girl I was often hanging out on the end of a surfboard, waiting for the next wave to ride, or the next boat to catch.  Such sweet memories!  Such Golden Moments to cherish and remember.


Home Sweet Home - Florida

Home Sweet Home – Florida


Florida Sands

Florida Sands


There is much to be Grateful for, as I remember these decades that have passed and all the family members that have gone before me.  They are all a Blessing in my life, and I know for sure that each of them is shining their light upon me from the heavens above.   I feel your Love.  I feel your Light.  I feel your Grace.   


Walking ahead...welcoming in the new!

Walking ahead…welcoming in the new!  (Photo: Andrea Domjan)


The Ebb and the Flow…

Florida Beaches - A Hole in the Sand...

Florida Beaches – A Hole in the Sand… This is how it is when a Tribe Member leaves you…like a hole in the sand of your lifetime,  it is suddenly gone forever, and the precious time you once shared together is suspended, into another Universe.  All that is left  is the Love inside your Heart that will continue to live on, inside of eternity.  Love is like this.  Love is like that.  It always continues on.