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RSVP : Chanel's No. 1 : Boutique Follows Tradition With Benefit for Local Arts Education and Outreach Programs

November 08, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

In the tradition of Coco Chanel, fashion came to the aid of the arts Saturday when the Chanel boutique in South Coast Plaza staged a benefit for local arts education and outreach programs.

Three Orange County performing arts organizations--Opera Pacific, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and South Coast Repertory--came together for a fund-raiser and performance called "Saturday in the Plaza with Chanel."

About 300 people paid $75 each (or $125 for preferred seating) to attend. Proceeds were expected to exceed $20,000 and will be distributed equally among the beneficiaries.

Following Chanel's Footsteps

Festivities began with a buffet reception and informal fashion show in which wispy-thin models sported head-turners such as quilted mini-skirts, simple black slip gowns and other selections from Chanel's 1995 cruise collection.

While it's impossible to know what Chanel would have thought of the clothes, she certainly would have approved of the cause. She was known for supporting Igor Stravinski, Jean Cocteau and other artists of her day. In keeping with her spirit, Roger Martin, director of the Chanel boutique, decided to honor local performing arts groups that offer outreach programs to the community.

"I did not feel arts education was getting the attention it deserved," Martin said.

Party-goers filled their plates with fare catered by Wolfgang Puck. Among the offerings were gourmet pizzas with smoked salmon or shrimp, seafood salads, Mediterranean cuisine and such Asian specialties as pot stickers and shrimp tempura.

Three Acts

At 9 p.m., guests were invited to a makeshift theater set up in the center's Jewel Court to see samples of the arts programs each group takes to Orange County schools.

"With all of the cutbacks in arts education, these organizations are taking it upon themselves" to expose young people to the arts, said Barbara Roberts, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Bill.

South Coast Repertory presented a play called "Make the Break," a story about a teen-age boy who recently broke up with his girlfriend and must overcome his grief to help a friend. The play, written by Jervey Tervalon, recently toured local junior high and high school campuses.

"This is an audience that doesn't get much live theater," said Jose Cruz Gonzalez, director of the play. "We're developing audiences for the future."

Opera Pacific's Overture Company presented selections from Donizetti's "Don Pasquale." The show also featured performances by members of the Pacific Symphony Institute Orchestra and 15-year-old Brenda Lee Jones, winner of the 1994 PSO Chinese-American League Showcase for Young Musicians.

"This is the first time the three primary producers have worked together on a fund-raiser," said Louis Spisto, executive director of the PSO. "It's a great way to showcase their programs."

Among the faces in the crowd: Beth Broderick, star of the television show "The Five Mrs. Buchanans" and former Huntington Beach resident, who created a stir with her sheer white mini-skirt; Gloria Gellman, George and Arlene Cheng, William and Laila Conlin, Jerry and Bobbi Dauderman, James and Barbara Glabman, Patricia Houston, Claire Trevor Bren, Olivia Johnson, John and Susan Kensey, Tom and Anne Key, Frank and Marilyn Lynch, Marcy and Maurice Mulville, Sharlene Strawbridge, Gayle Widyolar and David Scott.

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