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ANN CONWAY

Guilds Will Take Bite of Big Apple

February 10, 1989|ANN CONWAY

Start spreadin' the news . . . Princess Diana isn't the only one taking Manhattan.

Come Feb. 23, the Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center will take a bite of the Big Apple when designer Carolyne Roehm--the distaff side of what USA Today recently dubbed New York's power couple--comes to the county to parade her 90-piece spring collection.

Talk about a coup. Neiman-Marcus at Newport Center Fashion Island landed the regal Roehm--pronounced like that city in Italy--whose husband is Henry Kravis, partner in the buyout firm of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (you know, the company that landed RJR Nabisco for a heady $25 billion).

Performing arts society is buzzing with news of the bash (hmmm, better call it cocktail party). They're back you know, those ultra-chic, elbow-grazing klatsches where libations are shaken 'n' splashed into stemmed glasses. In fact, Manhattans, but of course, floating with cocktail cherries, and martinis, bobbing with toothpick-stuck olives, will be served up at eight bars during "The Guilds Take Manhattan" at the Irvine Hilton & Towers. Suggested attire is "Manhattan Marvelous."

Ramp-side seats--at Couture Sponsor tables--are hot tickets at $125 per. The Irvine Co. and Western Digital have already bought entire tables. Theater-style seating--Designer Patrons--are up for grabs at a bargain $50 each.

Now. There's been some negative "dishing " (as Manhattanites love to call it) by locals about those ramp-side tables. "Elitist!" some have shouted, cranky that only a few hundred guests will get a close-up view of the 20 models who will fly in from New York and San Francisco to strut Roehm's stuff.

Well, it ain't necessarily so. The theater seating for the remaining hundreds may actually afford a better perspective, and, after all, the purpose of the show- cum -cocktail party (and appetizer buffet) is to fund-raise for the Center, something the guilds have done to the tune of more than $4 million during the past 10 years.

The exciting plus: This fund-raiser is a new concept for the 3,500 guild volunteers who are committed to raising $500,000 annually for the Center's operating costs. In the past, they've come together in the spring at a daytime fashion show that served as a thank-you party for their hard work (each of the Guilds' 36 chapters takes responsibility for its own fund raising). A nominal fee was charged. But it only covered luncheon costs and any leftovers--$10,000 last year--was plopped into Center coffers.

But, after celebrating their 10th anniversary in 1988, it came time, guild board members thought, to discuss working together as a major fund-raising entity. Why couldn't they turn that thank-you luncheon into a money maker, they asked themselves. Why couldn't they pat themselves on the back and make big bucks at the same time?

Enter Guilds president Shari Esayian. She nabbed Barbara Glabman, a member of the Sound of Music chapter, for the chairmanship of what would be an all-new benefit extravaganza.

Glabman, wife of Jim Glabman--president of Glabman Furniture--has a reputation for highly detailed, seamless party giving with whopping proceeds.

And understanding very well that the Center needs money to "bring down the curtain as well as raise it up," Glabman said over poached salmon at the Center Club last week, she decided to do it. Gladly.

First step: a phone call to Gayle Dvorak, vice president and general manager of Neiman-Marcus in Newport Beach. Dvorak would participate. Gladly. Dvorak contacted Roehm and the rest, as they say, will become fashion and finance history.

On Feb. 22, Roger and Janice Johnson will host Roehm and fashion-show patrons at a cocktail party in their Mediterranean-style manse in Laguna Beach, something that could be a little intimidating for a hostess, considering Roehm is a social cyclone who thrives in a 16-room Park Avenue apartment.

But not unflappable Janice, a petite dynamo who serves as ways and means chairwoman for the Guilds. "I think our home is fabulous," she said. "We are very fortunate. We sit on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I wouldn't want to live any other place!"

Morsels: Jim and Nancy Baldwin will host a $2,000 per-couple fund-raiser in their Emerald Bay home on March 2 to help GOP Sen. Pete Wilson erase the debt from his recent successful campaign. Expected to attend: members of Team 100 (donors of $100,000 to President Bush's campaign) such as Donald Bren; William Lyon; Kathryn Thompson and Donald Koll . . . Henry and Renee Segerstrom were among mourners on Tuesday at the memorial services for sculptor Isamu Noguchi held at the Noguchi Museum in Queens in New York. Also among guests: architect I. M. Pei, international artist Christo, motion picture producer Arthur Penn and fashion designer Issey Miyake. "I wish we could bring a cup of Isamu's ashes back here," said Renee Segerstrom, before she left.

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