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Fashionables Do Their Thing for Chapel

April 08, 1993|ANN CONWAY

"Are you sure this is correct?" asked Chapman University President James Doti, wide-eyed over the check for $66,500 presented to him by Mary Lou Hornsby.

"So help me," Hornsby answered.

Replied Doti: " This is something. You don't see many checks that size these days."

The occasion was a luncheon and Nordstrom fashion show at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach staged by the Fashionables, a support group of Chapman University. The Fashionables (Hornsby is president) are raising funds for the All-Faiths Chapel that will be built on the university campus in Orange at an estimated cost of $4 to $5 million.

"We'd love to break ground on the chapel next year," said Doti, during a luncheon of grilled salmon. "But we're going to need some major donations to make that happen."

Since it was founded in 1971, the Fashionables have helped raise funds for the university's permanent Albert Schweitzer Exhibit (in the Thurmond Clarke Memorial Library).

The group has also raised money for the garden seating areas in the university's new Schweitzer Mall. (The patio of each garden area is embedded with a bronze plaque with a quote from the medical missionary.)

And since 1987, proceeds from the Fashionables' annual Christmas at the Ritz (held at the Ritz restaurant in Newport Beach), along with member dues, have provided $188,500 for the All-Faiths Chapel.

"We have a dream at Chapman," Doti told the chic crowd. "To build a chapel . . . a place where all members of the campus community will be able to go to find solace . . . a place to remind people that faith is an important part of one's life."

One beautiful table setting: Never mind the arts cognoscenti who gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel last week for a preview of the Newport Harbor Art Museum's annual Art of Dining benefit.

On this night, it was the party table--skirted in rose-pink moire, swagged with crisp white linen and set with rows of gleaming crystal and silver--that was the star.

"This is the first time we've introduced our Art of Dining table setting at our underwriters' party," said Joan Beall, president of the museum's board of trustees.

Eyeing the array of shining cutlery, Beall added: "It's a good thing our mothers taught us that we start with the outside fork. Otherwise, this would be terrifying."

Along with Beall's husband, Donald, Joan and George and Judie Argyros are honorary co-chairmen of the Italian-themed benefit set for April 25 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Fund-raising goal: $175,000. Price tag: $300 per person. Tables for 10 are going for $5,000 and $10,000 each (a $10,000 table also gets you a complimentary hotel suite, brunch with the chefs, a complimentary hair and makeup styling at Neiman Marcus and a full page of recognition in the evening's program).

When underwriters weren't ogling the elegant table--which was also topped with a centerpiece of Italian statuary holding a bouquet of scarlet roses--they were sipping fine red wines and sampling three kinds of risotto-- shiitake and smoked duck, pesto with crab, and zucchini flowerettes with fresh herbs. Puccini's "La Boheme" provided the background music.

"The thing I love about the Art of Dining is the challenge ," said museum curator Bruce Guenther. He laughed: "From the first knife to the last glass you're wondering--'Will I see the tiramisu?' " Make that tiramisu with hazelnut ice cream and pistachio biscotti whipped up by Bruno Feldeisen and Joachim Splichal of Patina restaurant in Los Angeles.

And while we're at it, here are the rest of the courses: antipasto by chef Michel Pieton of the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach; baby clams and leeks in white wine garlic broth by Paul Bartolotta of Spiaggia (Chicago); cedar-smoked salmon with artichoke and mushroom salad by Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel of Campanile, Los Angeles; and lasagna con Verdure by Marta Pulini of Le Madri (New York).

And there's more: risotto with porcini mushrooms and zucchini flowers by Angelo Auriana of Valentino's in Los Angeles and pan-roasted Napa valley squab by Michael Chiarello of Tra Vigne of St. Helena, Ca.

"This is such a classy event," said Judie Argyros. "The museum is a very special part of our community, and we need to keep it growing and strong," she said. "This is a lovely way to support it."

Also among guests: museum director Michael Botwinick; Jerry and Mary Lou Harrington ("This is the most lovely table setting I've seen and believe me, I've seen a few," she said); Sam Goldstein, founder of the Art of Dining ("I'm glad this event has turned out to be one that people love to return to," he said); Oscar and Alison Baker Frenzel; and Lois and Buzz Aldrin (off to a "Dark Side of the Moon" party in Los Angeles commemorating the 20th anniversary of the rock group Pink Floyd's album by the same name).

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