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Lunching With Largesse

February 13, 2001|PATT DIROLL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In the annals of charity events, the fashion luncheon is a time-honored formula that never goes out of style. Writing a hefty check for the privilege of watching a gaggle of whippet-thin models whirl down a runway in clothes that most of us couldn't or wouldn't wear has been a rite of spring for decades.

Last Wednesday, Las Candelas filled the Beverly Hilton Ballroom with supporters for "Hands Full of Hope, Hands Full of Love," their biennial benefit for the Sycamores, Hillsides, the YWCA Shelter for battered women and their children and the Hillsides Developmental Learning Center. The luncheon, co-chaired by Mary Boger and Sharon Gregg, has been a tradition since 1957, dating back to the old Ambassador Hotel when the tickets were $7 person, said Las Candelas president Debbie Hinckley. Today, tickets are $85.

For several years, the event has been held at the Hilton featuring the spring/summer collection of Los Angeles designer David Hayes. "I've counted about 40 ladies wearing my suits today," said Hayes. "I stole my philosophy from Jean Louis, who said, 'When a woman walks into a room, I want people to say, 'Doesn't she look beautiful? Not who is she wearing?' "

Meanwhile, the annual Valentine's Day fashion show luncheon, co-sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue and the Colleagues to benefit the Children's Institute International at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Wednesday, is sold out. Tickets to the event, which honors Annette Bening and Warren Beatty and features the Chanel spring/summer collection, range from $100 to $1,000 per person.

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The scene at the Beverly Hilton last Sunday could have been a casting call for a Busby Berkeley musical. The ballroom was jammed to capacity for the Professional Dancers Society's annual benefit luncheon, honoring Carol Burnett with the 2001 Gypsy Award. "I've known some of these people for more than 50 years," former Goldwyn Girl Sue Casey said with a sigh as she surveyed the room.

"They're here for Carol," said Ken Berry, who appeared on her show for 11 years. "She's been better for the dance world and the dancer than any star I know of."

Most of Burnett's former television family were on hand for the tribute: Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, the show's corps of dancers along with society president Donald O'Connor and event chairwoman Joni Berry and a flotilla of stars. Spotted were: Rip Taylor, Jack Carter, Anne Jeffreys, Barbara Billingsley, Tom Bosley, Earl Holliman, Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin, Giselle McKenzie, Jane Withers, Dom DeLuise, Fayard Nicholas, Janet Leigh and designer Kathrine Baumann , who surprised Burnett with a jeweled pink minaudiere in the form of a ballet slipper.

Coming Up

* The Tourette Syndrome Assn. (TSA) will honor producer David E. Kelley and Dr. Donald J. Cohen, director of the Yale Child Study Center, at its fourth annual awards dinner to be held tonight at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Actress Sally Kellerman will emcee the evening, which will fund research on the neurobiological disorder. Tickets are $250 per person. For information, call (310) 860-1300.

* The Tri-Council of Big Sisters of Los Angeles hosts its fourth annual Heart of the Community Luncheon at the Regal Biltmore Hotel on Thursday. The African American, Asian Pacific Islander and Latina Advisory Councils will honor: Angela Sanbrano, Bobbie Parks, Judith Nelson and Cora Tellez for their leadership and community service. Tickets are $60. For information, call (323) 933-5749, Ext. 239.

* Actress Stockard Channing, MTV: Music Television and the L.A.-based political action group ANGLE (Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality), will be recognized for their support of gay and lesbian rights by the Human Rights Campaign at its 10th annual fund-raising gala Saturday at the Century Plaza Hotel. Tickets are $225 and $325. For information, call (310) 201-5033.

* Members of the Ladies Society of St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral of Los Angeles will present 16 young women at their 48th Debutante Ball at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday.

* The Salvation Army and the Millennium Choir are staging a special Grammy Week concert, "Sound of Heaven, Signs of Hope" on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Westwood United Methodist Church in West Los Angeles. Admission is free; however, all donations will support the Salvation Army's Alegria, a residential program serving homeless families living with HIV or AIDS. For reservations, call (213) 553-3281.

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Patt Diroll's column is published Tuesdays. She can be reached at pattdiroll@earthlink.net.

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