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Party to Fete Opening of Garden Show

October 11, 1987|MARY LOU LOPER | Times Staff Writer

The pink silk floss trees and the golden medallions are in bloom at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum in Arcadia, and in that pretty environment, Alice Thomas, president of the California Arboretum Foundation trustees, has Suzie Miller putting together the preview party Thursday evening to celebrate the opening of the 1987 Los Angeles Garden Show.

Because this year's theme is "The English Influence," Elizabeth Ballentyne, wife of the British consul general, will preside over the show, which features more than 30 landscape artists creating garden displays covering three acres on the arboretum grounds. The 10,000-square-foot Ayres Hall will be filled with floral and patio designs.

Los Angeles County Chief of Protocol Sandra Ausman escorts consul wives to the formal ceremony opening the show on Friday, and Gerry Schabarum, wife of Los Angeles County Supervisor Pete Schabarum, will be there to host a luncheon for them. Also, the garden clubs are in action. Joan Banning heads the Diggers Garden Club, which is eclectically trimming, planting and mossing baskets and containers to perfection. Marilyn Brumder of the Pasadena Garden Club will focus on an air pollution exhibit. As for the party, it will be very English--topiaries will abound for starlight dancing. Sue Campoy of Julienne's will cater.

FUR EXTRAVAGANZA: It's very simple: Buy fur, make money for Retinitis Pigmentosa International. That's the ticket next Sunday when Somper by Fur Couture International in Beverly Hills stages a fur fashion show entitled "A Salute to the Vision of Bob Mackie." Owner Edd Jacobs is underwriting the entire evening, including the Chasen's catered dinner, the Taittinger champagne, show, valet parking, invitations. That will assure RP guests (250 expected) of a 100% net profit on their $125 invitations. Plus Jacobs will reduce furs by 30%. Because the RP people expect to spend $250,000 on furs that evening, with about 20% going to the charity, they should make an additional $50,000-plus. The salute will be to Mackie (who will donate an elegant beaded evening gown), but Carlton Burnett is choreographing show-stopper furs also by Dior, St. Laurent, Perry Ellis, Valentino and Givenchy.

And just how much does Jacobs give away in furs each year? We asked, because recently he gave the fur that Marvin Davis purchased to net $10,000 for the United Cerebral Palsy benefit. Jacobs estimates 40 furs a year, about half valued less than $1,000, most of the others about $3,000, and, bottom line, in the last 2 1/2 years his donations have netted $300,000 for charity (including Cedars-Sinai, March of Dimes, Nisei Week, Thalians, Armenian Relief, Charles Drew Medical Auxiliary, California Historical Society, the Assistance League, San Gabriel Valley YWCA). That's a bundle. Furthermore, he says, he religiously keeps score: "If I give a $10,000 fur and it sells for only $2,000, it infuriates me." Moreover, he insists, he always gives away fashion fur, never last year's sale item. That could be expensive this year: He's bought heavily in Russian sable, and a full-length one take 80 skins and costs $200,000 and up. Charity chairmen, are you game for that?

DEBUT: When Kate Reagan of the Junior League of Pasadena arrived Oct. 1 at Bristol Farms in Pasadena, 20% of the store's merchandise was on the floor, 180 employees were sopping up the concoctions of catsup et al., manager David Gronsky was yet to order a fourth "really good" mopping to prevent slip and slide. All slicked up by evening, the store and chef Claudia McQuillan, who had been planning for months and cooking for two weeks, welcomed the 350 guests at the league's debut tasting party for its new cookbook, "California Heritage Continues," circulating this week in area bookstores. Publisher Doubleday liked the league's precursor, "California Heritage," so well--it's sold 160,000 copies--it wanted to continue the partnership.

League members, headed by Mary Anne Borovicka, have spent three years researching 4,000 recipe ideas and whittling them down to 650. Weight-wise, she said, "There have been a lot of ups and downs. We'd do entrees or desserts and then test lighter salads for a while to lose pounds."

League members took on specific responsibilities as authors: Kathy LeRoy did cheeses, including the popular Gorgonzola pistachio loaf; Lorraine Reaume did vegetables and the wonderful feta crisps.

Now, marketing chairman Cynthia Perucca is in action, setting up tasting salons. The other evening at Bristol, league president Leslie Jallo was beaming, and so was everyone who tasted the Chinese ribs that Susan Chandler and Lou Payne were touting, as well as Nancy Cole's double chocolate rum bars and mocha truffles, which Teresa Hoffman, Lynn McCarthy, Terry Clougherty and John and Pam King found irresistible.

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