The Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center began laying the groundwork for their 1993 Center of Fashion show with a preview dinner that honored the show's committee members, underwriters and models.
About 230 guests attended the Friday dinner, which was held at two seatings in Il Fornaio in Costa Mesa. The Oct. 1 fashion show is expected to draw 5,000 and raise $200,000 for the center.
In the four years since its inception, the Center of Fashion has become one of the top draws on Orange County's social calendar.
Thousands go to the center in Costa Mesa to see the Broadway-style production and the latest fashions from Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza and boutiques throughout Orange County.
Women vie to model in the show. This year, about 80 guild members were chosen to model, and they will be joined by 40 professionals.
"We select gals who can carry it off as a professional model. We look for poise, grace and energy," says Donna Miramontes, model selection chairwoman.
Sarah Abbott, who will model for the second year, said being in the show "is like playing dress-up. Back stage is organized pandemonium. Everyone's running around nude. There's major makeup and 'dos. Then you come out in clothes you wouldn't necessarily wear and model them in front of thousands of your closest friends. It's fun. It's like being queen for a day."
Carlton Burnett will return as the show's producer/director for the fourth year. Burnett has yet to disclose the show theme.
"Fashion dictates what direction we take," Burnett said. "We might play off the retro '60s looks or the international styles. This year there's also talk about grunge. Is Orange County ready for grunge?"
Committee members spend the better part of summer pulling off the show.
"This is a 40- to 60-hour a week job," said Cindy Boragno, event chairwoman (with co-chair Sue Feldman). "Staying until 11 o'clock at the office is not uncommon."
Dining in Style
Guests were the first to sample Il Fornaio's new full-service format; in the past diners loaded their food on trays cafeteria-style.
The Italian fare included cold marinated shrimp with feta cheese and lemon vinaigrette, chicken roasted on the restaurant's rotisserie or grilled salmon with lemon and parsley and for dessert a puff pastry with cold Madeira zabaglione and fresh strawberries.
Next on the list of Center of Fashion-related events: an "Overture Luncheon" Wednesday, July 14, when the show's featured designer and participating stores will be announced.
Tickets for the show will be available at the center box office and Ticketron starting July 18. Group tickets in blocks of 15 or more are already available. Prices range from $10 to $75. A luncheon at the Westin prior to the matinee show is $22.
The fashion shows will be at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Those attending the preview dinner included Mary and Ken Bryant, Steven and Ann Crisham, Vesta Curry, Jim and Patty Edwards, Harry and Shari Esayian, Warren and Marcia Finley, Paul and Janice Fuchs, Larry and Dee Higby, Larry Mindel, Gerry and Milly Muzzy, Fiona Petersen, Bill and Susie Plummer, Sharon Rediess, Lynda Rosenblatt, Matt and Tina Schafnitz, Nancy Scharf, Roger and Candice Schnapp, Russ and Susan Werdin, Robert and Bonnie Wheeler and Marsha Willis.