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R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : Horsey Set Goes Along for the Ride at Stylish Oaks Classic : Even for the spectators, equestrian chic is the order of the day at the grand prix competition and luncheon.

June 07, 1995|KATHRYN BOLD

While the horses and their riders competed at the 10th annual Oaks Classic, spectators put on a show of their own.

People-watching proved great sport Sunday at the The Oaks, Joan Irvine Smith's ranch in San Juan Capistrano, where more than 900 guests in equestrian chic turned up for The Oaks Classic Grand Prix Luncheon.

Guests paid $200 each to enjoy lunch under a massive white tent or $100 each for a seat at tables in the oak grove. Proceeds from the luncheon and four-day competition benefit the National Water Research Institute.

Clothes Horses

The buffet-style meal gave guests plenty of opportunity to study one another's attire. Fashions ran the gamut. There were elegant suits, blue jeans, high heels, cowboy boots, blazers, vests and lots of hats.

"This is our first time here, and we've seen everything, from Chanel suits to pantsuits," said Kathy Winton, a Newport Beach resident.

Winton and her 18-year-old daughter Kristine turned heads in their little black dresses. Kathy Winton wore a two-piece dress with white piping. Her daughter wore a sleeveless dress with pleated skirt and gold buttons.

Sitting by a rail as they watched the horses jump, Helena Stanaland, Megan Wood and Aynsley Andrews, all age 13, looked like a trio of Venuses with their long hair, straw hats and flowing, vintage-style dresses.

"We didn't plan this," Helena said. "We just all like hats."

Elizabeth Amendt and her 4-year-old son, Kyle, and 2-year-old daughter, Krysta, wore coordinating, taupe-colored outfits.

"I bought my daughter's outfit first, and it just worked out," said Amendt, who wore a silk pantsuit. Her daughter was dressed in a floral-print knit dress and white pantaloons.

Kyle, who looked like a future GQ guy in his checkered shorts and Polo-style shirt, didn't seem interested in the clothes.

"Can we ride on the horse?" he asked.

Food, Art and Horses

When not ogling each other or the horses, guests sampled the buffets set up on the grounds. There were made-to-order omelets, tacos and build-your-own sundaes with all the trimmings.

Some visited a tent filled with paintings from the Irvine Museum's exhibition of plein-air art; others stopped by the Hermes booth, where they could pick up a silk scarf for $245.

Most attending the brunch were serious horse lovers. Kathy Scherer of Laguna Hills said her family loves to ride.

"It's exciting--the height and speed. It's almost like a roller coaster," she said.

Guests could visit a booth set up by the National Water Research Institute illustrating its work. The institute identifies and supports research that will lead to improved water quality and supply.

Among those attending were Joan Irvine Smith, chairwoman of The Oaks Classic organizing committee; Francine Bardot of Hermes; celebrities Tawny Little, Ron Silver and Bruce Jenner; James and Madeline Swinden; Russell and Carol Penniman; Ron Linsky, and Richard O'Neill.

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