About 1,400 members and guests of the Junior League of Newport Harbor got an early glimpse of the new Nordstrom store at South Coast Plaza Wednesday when an "Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show" raised $35,000 for the League's community service programs.
The new Costa Mesa store officially opens at 10 a.m. today, but those who attended the tea had three hours to browse freely and shop while sampling a selection of teas, scones and other light fare.
"We were lucky to be the beneficiary of Nordstrom for the event," said Junior League president Janet Harris. "There were several groups that wanted to be the first to have their function in the store, but we got it."
The second floor was most popular, with its cafe-like atmosphere and Sandra Matthews playing the baby grand piano.
Easy to overlook among all the merchandise were more than 300 original works by Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles artists. The works, displayed throughout the store, are permanently hung as part of the store's contemporary decor.
The crowd walked across the street to a huge white tent for the fashion show. To accommodate the large turnout, two 45-minute shows were held an hour apart.
The tent, decorated with a circus theme, featured an arc of multi-colored balloons above the stage and a mannequin hanging upside down on a trapeze above the runway.
Band Opens Show
The show started when a circus band marched in, playing "Come Follow the Band." Following the musicians were a dozen professional models in Nordstrom evening wear.
Small children in the audience delighted in the "props" used to enhance the fashions. Among them were a clown sculpting balloons into animals as children's fashions were shown; a live tiger parading with his trainer before "Out Of Africa"-style clothing was modeled, and brilliantly colored parrots--one squawking and flapping its wings continuously up and down the runway--perched on models wearing tropical prints.
The event was chaired by Cathy Boyle. Members of the event steering committee were Jacque Andrews, Liz Toomey, Linda Bye, Linda Maggard, Suzie Twitchell, Mary Rose Collopy and Michelle Miller.
The league supports such community programs as the Court Appointed Special Advocate Project (CASA), which provides volunteers to monitor cases and speak on behalf of abused and neglected children who are dependents of the Juvenile Court of Orange County; Project SEAL, which develops safety programs on child molestation for elementary school children in the Newport-Mesa School District, and Irvine Chemical People, a drug prevention program.