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VALLEY FOCUS | Woodland Hills

Odyssey House Hosts Fashion Fund-Raiser

September 28, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON

Fashion shows may be defined as a presentation of clothes modeled by unworldly creatures who go by such names as Elle, Paulina or Tyra.

But the only thing "Odyssey . . . En Vogue," held at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel on Sunday, had in common with fashion shows in Paris and Milan was the helter-skelter behind-the-scenes preparations.

Otherwise, the show featured women and men of average proportions modeling clothes donated by various stores in the Topanga Plaza and Promenade Mall.

Rail-thin models and high fashion were not the order of the day. The focus of the event was to raise money for Odyssey House, a privately funded women's alcohol and drug recovery facility in Canoga Park.

"This is our biggest fund-raiser of the year, and this is what helps us keep our doors open," said Susan Turnbull, executive director of the Women's Odyssey Organization, which operates Odyssey House.

Sunday marked the 18th year that the organization has presented the fashion show, which raised more than $8,000 last year. Turnbull said she expects to top that figure with the show directed and produced this year by West Hills-based photographer Kevin Kassel and attended by about 250 people.

As in previous years, many of the models who strutted down the runway in the Grand Ballroom had struggled with chemical dependency and had participated in the Odyssey program.

"I feel that it's important to give something back that was given to me--sobriety," said Odyssey Vice President Taryn Maupin, who identified herself as a recovering alcoholic.

Maupin, 41, who also served as a model, said she has been sober for seven years.

Michelle Caudel, an aspiring actress, modeled a beige evening gown.

Although she is not a recovering alcoholic and did not participate in the Odyssey program, the 27-year-old said her struggle with an eating disorder enabled her to relate to women who suffer from chemical dependency.

"I was in recovery and still am in recovery," Caudel said. "I think it's a good cause."

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