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David Nelson / Society

Party Gives Country Friends Early Taste of Autumn Style

July 24, 1986|DAVID NELSON

RANCHO SANTA FE — Sue Hutchison wore two shoes to the sponsors' party she and husband Murray gave at home Friday for the Country Friends' annual "Appearance of Autumn" fashion show.

Well, yes, you say, that's very nice, but people generally do wear shoes to dressy evening receptions.

Of course they do, but there was something a little different about Sue's choice of footgear--one shoe was red, the other purple.

This two-tone approach provided a kicky personal accent to a party built around color. The Hutchisons call their spacious rural retreat Casa de Colores, and not without reason; the place looks as if they snagged a passing rainbow, siphoned off its hues and splashed them in every direction. If variety is the spice of life, the colors used at this house add up to a potent visual curry.

To dramatize the premises even further for the reception, the Hutchisons added tables draped in bright cloths (no two matched) and festooned in ribbons, with kaleidoscopic bouquets of balloons rising above each.

Into this maelstrom of colors the Country Friends tossed 300 of its most loyal benefactors, the folks who provide underwriting for the Appearance of Autumn show. Most admitted to being swept off their feet by the scene, including Country Friends President Mary Ann Fitch, and Sue Bubnack, who will chair the Sept. 9 fashion extravaganza.

Titled "American Style," this year's show will be the 32nd to be presented by the group. As always, it will be given on the front lawn of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, and again as always, it is expected to draw the largest audience of any outdoor show in the county; last year, more than 1,800 guests attended, a figure that the Country Friends expect to meet or exceed in September. A touch of novelty has been injected into American Style, however, since Nordstrom, a merchandiser new to Appearance of Autumn, will be presenting the fashions. (At the sponsors' party, roving Nordstrom models offered an appetizing foretaste of the styles to be presented at the show.) Mary Ann Restivo will be the featured designer.

Since she wore two shoes, Sue Hutchison also sported two hats, at least figuratively, by supplementing her hostess's cap with a chef's toque. She personally prepared the elaborate buffet offered the guests, having rented several freezers in which to lock away the bounty of several weeks' worth of constant laboring in the kitchen. The theme was international, with an emphasis on treats from south of the border; for one tasty offering, a pair of women grilled fresh tortillas and spread them with a savory black bean filling. Mariachis followed on the heels of servers passing exotic canapes and, at a favors table, women rolled strips of variously colored crepe into bright Mexican flowers. All this was enjoyed outdoors under a moon that highlighted the colors with a silver brush.

Many long-time supporters of the Country Friends attended, including Sue Teasdel with Brick Allison, Nancy Podbielniak, Joanne and Frank Warren, Joanne and Harry Wenz, Peggy and Richard Pharr, Margaret Muench, Sylvia and Arleigh Anderson, Luba Johnston, Constance Clotfelter, Frances Burgar, Mary and Irby Cobb and Betty and Eric Bass.

Among others present were Nancy and Robert Salisbury, Betty and Mark Coates, Lynn and Paris Adkison, Flo and Robert Bible, Laurie and Mike Peters, Dragon and Donald Sherman, Pat and Charles Wood, Jennie and Sid D'Agosta, Midgie and Gary Vandenberg, and Rose and Walter Van Boxtel.

SAN DIEGO--Some people have been known to offer their friends tea and sympathy.

JoBobbie MacConnell, being a thoroughly practical person, prefers to offer her pals tea and sandwiches.

At an elaborate afternoon tea given July 15 in the U.S. Grant Garden Room, MacConnell served watercress sandwiches (of course), as well as thin smoked salmon sandwiches, crumpets, strawberries in thick cream, and sweet raisin buns. Tea was served from a large silver samovar and, for the less circumspect, white wine also was poured.

The afternoon's menu excluded sympathy in favor of enthusiasm, however, since the 40 guests had been invited to a kind of cheerleading session designed to applaud the plans for the Fine Arts Ball, which JoBobbie, fresh from her success with last year's version of the San Diego Museum of Art-benefiting bash, again will be chairing.

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