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Gentlemen Strut in Style for Charity

March 18, 1986|LINK MATHEWSON

It seemed an odd invocation that Father Bill McLaughlin gave Thursday at a luncheon benefit for the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.

"Father, You created the peacock and the peahen, you made the peacock and adorned him with color and glory," said McLaughlin, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church in Newport Beach. "Beside him, you made the peahen look quite dowdy."

But as it turned out, the invocation at the Irvine Hilton made sense. This was one luncheon, where the males, like peacocks, outshone the peahens--although the panel of women judges didn't look like the "potatoes of the garden" that McLaughlin also mentioned.

Rancho Mission Viejo President Tony Moiso, securities wholesaler Vince McGuinness and Orange County Supervisor Tom Riley co-sponsored the sixth annual Gentlemen's Haberdashery Fashion Extravaganza, which raised $47,000.

More than 350 guests--predominantly land developers--watched 50 models wearing a variety of outfits from Fashion Island stores. If the models seemed nervous on the runway, they were probably worried about ad-libs from the commentators, sewer contractor Paul Salata and Kitty Leslies, the Irvine Co.'s fashion coordinator for Fashion Island.

Models included such luminaries as actors Patrick and Ethan Wayne and Olympian Rafer Johnson. But Richard O'Neill of the O'Neill Ranch (now better known as Mission Viejo) and building contractor Gus Owen, stole the spotlight.

O'Neill, described by Leslie as "the third person in the blessed trinity of Orange County (along with pioneer landholders the Irvine family and the Segerstroms)," was the first model. As he sauntered down the runway to the "William Tell" overture, Leslie mentioned a few "firsts" for O'Neill. "It's obviously Richard's first fashion show," she said. "It's the first time that Richard's jacket has matched his pants. He's also wearing his first pair of non-cowboy boots."

Owen overwhelmed the audience with an outfit labeled New Wave: a black jacket and pants, print shirt, a purse and one earring (in his left ear.) "This is certainly a new image for Gus," said fellow model Tom Fuentes, who described Owen as an ultra-conservative. Fuentes modeled with his 8-month-old daughter Michelle Renee.

Municipal Judge Calvin Schmidt also took part. "He really does look better in basic (judicial) black," said Don Regan, a Newport Beach attorney.

Riley said the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart is his major charitable involvement.

"Once you are in the clutches of the sisters, it's difficult to get out," said Riley with a chuckle. "They send you birthday cards, Christmas cards and the seventh day of the month is set aside for prayers for their benefactors."

Emma Jane Riley and Melinda Moiso introduced the panel of judges who selected winners from among the models in six categories such as "most likely to give his wife an unlimited gift certificate to Fashion Island." It took 22 women to decide that Irvine Co. President Tom Nielsen best fit that bill.

Two of the judges, Mary Ann Miller and Jo Anne Mix, said they would like to see more categorie. "One would be 'the man most likely to be understanding when his wife calls to say she'll be home late from a committee meeting,' " Mix said.

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