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PARTY HOPPING

Nordstrom Show Makes Giving Fashionable

July 14, 1988|ANN CONWAY

Something bold, something bright. Something suede for day or night.

Musts for the nouveau bride? No, musts for savvy dressing for fall, according to Mary Jane Ruckdeschel, fashion consultant for Nordstrom.

If a woman could purchase but three items to update her wardrobe, she should buy "something bright, especially purple," Ruckdeschel said minutes before Nordstrom previewed its fall designer collections on behalf of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation of Orange County last Thursday. "A bold-color jacket or coat. And then, classic fluid pants, and, anything suede."

No. 1 on the fashion trend list is "hot brights," Ruckdeschel said. "Especially a hot bright jacket or coat." Other haute trends: the new, more feminine jacket, cropped or nipped at the waist; a white blouse that can "stand on its own" (a topper so special it finishes the look, requires no jacket); the demise of the pouf cocktail dress, with a return to elegant evening gowns in ultrarich fabrics; and burnished gold accessories.

More than 600 of Orange County's fashion-conscious arrived at the Irvine Hilton & Towers at 11 a.m. to lunch on calorie-conscious grilled chicken with Creole mustard sauce. Then, after blowing their diets on a raspberry-spruced mousse, guests settled back to watch one of the hottest fashion lineups to hit local ramps in months.

First up: Calvin Klein's triple-hot coral, turquoise, grape and teal skirts and jackets paired with streamlined black turtlenecks, followed by Ann Klein, partial to hot raspberry hues. Next came the designs of Michael Kors, who stayed away from black, preferring siren-red head to toe. Perry Ellis showcased midnight blue; Giorgio Armani was partial to dove gray, and Mary Ann Restivo paired black and white with throbbing brights. Donna Karan's passion-purple coat brought the house down, and Ungaro's ultrashort skirts (all you need is "10" knees) were paired with clingy sweaters cinched with black suede belts.

Among the guests was Betsy Sanders, vice president of Nordstrom So. Calif. "I've been touched by this association," she said, referring to Nordstrom's decision to make the Pediatric Cancer Foundation the beneficiary of its annual fashion peek. "It seems to me if parents of children being treated for cancer have the time to give back to the community (by volunteering with the foundation), then we ought to find the time to help them."

The foundation, which raises money for cancer research and tries to improve the quality of life for pediatric cancer patients at Childrens Hospital of Orange County, was founded in 1982 by Dr. Geni Bennetts, director of hematology and oncology at CHOC.

After the show, which also featured the designs of Escada (you have seen the magazine ads--red roses on black and bold plaids), Valentino (oodles of camel or mustard with gray) and St. John (subdued silhouettes with a smattering of glitter) came the sale. Crowd members were invited to go "backstage" to shop till they dropped. All of the clothes in the ramp collection were carefully arrayed, along with matching accessories, in salons and on the patio so guests could order from Nordstrom saleswomen to their charge-card's content. Net proceeds were estimated at $22,000.

Members of the foundation board on the guest list: Bonnie Dankberg of Mission Viejo; Jane Fowler of Newport Beach; Elena Page of South Laguna; Kathy Andres of Anaheim; Sharon Bergeron of Huntington Beach; Sue Buchan of Placentia, and Janet McNeil, Teri Wielenga and Vicki Mullins, all of Irvine.

Boppin' at the Hop: Well, they rocked it and they rolled it, they bopped and even strolled it at the Hop (bop bop) on Saturday night, netting about $17,000 for the Barrymores chapter of the Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Guests, many dressed in '50s attire--Mary Mayes wore the pale yellow formal she wore to the junior prom with hubby, Ray--enjoyed bubbly and hors d'oeuvres the first hour, a lavish buffet at 7 p.m. and a Rock Around the Clock show that went on for more than two hours.

"Past midnight, there was still a conga line going," said Stevi Lister, a real rock-around-the-clocker.

The event marked the opening of the Hop in Laguna Hills, a nightclub that seats up to 700 and features '50s music and a nostalgia show along with limbo, hula hoop and lip-sync contests. Sherri and Dennis Hannan were co-chairmen.

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