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Ready to Wear--and Raise Some Money

March 22, 2001|ANN CONWAY

In a daring fashion extravaganza that stole breaths and raised eyebrows, Salvatore Ferragamo showcased its spring-summer ready-to-wear collection for more than 400 members of the Guilds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

On view at the Four Seasons in Newport Beach: forward-looking fashions that played peekaboo with models' bodies.

"If men knew what these fashion shows were like, the whole audience would be men," quipped center chairman Roger Kirwan, who sat ringside at the affair last week that netted about $50,000.

Kirwan joined with center officials, including president Jerry Mandel, to praise the fund-raiser that, he said, represented a "synergistic marriage of some of the world's great institutions--Salvatore Ferragamo, Robert Mondavi and the Orange County Performing Arts Center."

The Robert Mondavi Winery provided the centerpieces--elegant combinations of flowers and fresh fruit--and the fine wines that accompanied a luncheon of herb-crusted Chilean sea bass, risotto and hazelnut pear tart.

Ferragamo fashion director and senior vice president Nicole Fischelis, who came from Florence for the event, presided over the sartorial parade that spotlighted everything from the Italian designer's colorful shoes to its signature cardigans, leather handbags and silk scarves.

Guests also got an eyeful of Ferragamo's angular linen pantsuits--elongated jackets grazed the hip--in brights such as Kelly green and amethyst.

"With Ferragamo, it's all about the cut," Fischelis said. "We're a suede and leather house known for our fine tailoring."

After lunch, Margrit Biever Mondavi, wife of vintner Robert Mondavi and honorary chairwoman of the benefit, stood before the crowd to sing the praises of her home in Napa Valley and tout the properties of the grape.

Napa is abloom with "mustard, cherry blossoms and lupine--a lovely place," she said, adding that wine, taken in moderation, "kindles romance, promotes health and improves the disposition."

Guest list: Donna Collett, general manager of the Ferragamo boutique at South Coast Plaza; Guilds President Patrice Poidmore; event chairwoman Rosemarie Kramer; Carol Wilken; Shari Esayian; Betty Belden Palmer; and Elaine Redfield. Guests also included Patricia Marshall and Marsha

Anderson--co-chairwomen of the center's famed Candlelight Concert in December.

Helping Teens in Recovery

Vintage fashions were on view at a style show and tea sponsored by the Ladies Guild of Teen Challenge, a Santa Ana-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation and residential program for adolescents.

More than 500 people attended the benefit Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Alicante Garden Grove that featured silhouettes ranging from the bustle to the miniskirt.

Teen Challenge assistant director Robert Metcalf of Mission Viejo, a recovering addict, credits the nonprofit organization's "quit cold turkey and pray" mandate for his sobriety. "I abused drugs for 13 years, was in and out of institutions," said Metcalf, 35. "My parents committed me to a Santa Ana psychiatric hospital when I was 13. When I was 16, they kicked me out of the house. I was sleeping under bushes and in people's garages."

Teen Challenge's nondenominational, 12-step program has changed his life. "I've been clean for more than 10 years. God had other plans for my life."

Information: (714) 835-8822.

Saluting Visionaries

Cal State Fullerton alumni were recognized for outstanding professional achievement during the university's annual Vision & Visionaries gala attended by about 600 people Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim.

Hosted by CSUF President Milton A. Gordon and the Alumni Assn.'s board of directors, the event saluted NASA astronaut Tracy E. Caldwell of Houston; Balboa Instruments President David J. Cline of Newport Beach; former New York Giants defensive back Mark A. Collins of Redlands; Food 4 Less President David G. Hirz of Santa Ana; Clorox Co. President Gerald E. Johnston of Alamo, Calif.; and lawyer Peter D. Kelly of Los Angeles.

Ann Conway can be reached by phone at (714) 966-5952 or by fax at (714) 966-7790.

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