Broad theater artistic director Dale Franzen, actress Jamie Lee Curtis… (Amy Graves / WireImage.com )
So much for the rooftop party under sunny skies. As Angelenos know, it really does rain in California, at least sometimes. And Wednesday, the day of Aviva's annual fashion show, was one of those times. But for Aviva Family and Children's Services — which provides counseling and educational programs for adolescents at risk — the show had to go on.
Event co-chair Susan Casden said she waited until 4 p.m. the previous day before moving the event from upstairs on the rooftop pool deck to inside at the London West Hollywood Hotel.
"I checked Weather.com every hour before making the call," Casden said. "The views from the roof are spectacular, but we couldn't make our ladies uncomfortable."
"It was a challenge, but it was fun," said John Cruz of the scramble to ready the ballroom. Cruz is general manager of Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills, sponsor of the luncheon and of designer Gilles Mendel's Los Angeles debut of his spring 2011 collection for J. Mendel.
Throughout the luncheon, Brooke Shields communicated via pen and paper, scribbling notes to well-wishers about the need to rest her voice for her singing role in the new musical "Leap of Faith," which runs through Oct. 24 at the Ahmanson Theatre.
Casden and Robin Broidy co-chaired the event for Aviva's "Platinum Associates," a donor group Broidy founded. More than 100 guests included Linda May, Lisa Mindlin, Pamela Hoefflin, Dani Lancer, Helene Galen, Shelley Curtis Litvack, Christine Chiu, Carolyn Bloom, Monica McEntee, Susan Rothenberg, Shelly Resnick, Barbara Lazaroff and Yifat Oren.
Broad fundraiser preview
Patrons of the first "Winter Feast & Frolic" for Santa Monica's Broad Stage got a sneak peek at the upcoming Jane Austen-themed fundraiser Oct. 17 at Eva and Marc Stern's Malibu home. Eva Stern serves on the board of the Broad Stage.
Jamie Lee Curtis said she plans to cohost, along with her pal Melanie Griffith, "in full period regalia," and since guests are invited to come in Regency-era attire, the two will judge a best-costume contest.
"I don't think you can find two less likely candidates for the job," Curtis said. "We are daughters of 'Hitchcock blondes' [ Janet Leigh and Tippi Hedren] and represent modern women," adding that she will use "originality" as her criteria for judging.
Guests sipped cocktails on the beachside patio, watching the waves break on the nearby sand, before gathering indoors to watch Victoria Tennant improvise a period drama with the cast of "Jane Austen Unscripted."
Tennant said she so enjoyed a recent Shakespearean production at the theater that she met afterward with director Dale Franzen to ask how she could help. The result? Tennant will perform at the gala too.
The Sterns also serve on boards of the Center Theatre Group, the LA Opera and the Music Center, but Eva Stern said, "I feel strongly that we should support the arts on the Westside. We need to explore all venues; the more accessible they are, the better. The Broad is a complement to all the arts happening in Los Angeles."
Edye and Eli Broad, for whom the stage is named, had a few words to say too. "It's all great," Eli Broad said, before ticking off the many arts locales on Grand Avenue. "You're going to see a lot more happening downtown," he said.
Rosanne Ziering and John Mass, co-chairs of the gala (which is scheduled for Dec. 4), joined guests Marilyn Ziering with Howard Walter, Jennifer and Royce Diener, Katharina and Thierry Leduc, Cindy and Dick Troop, and Audrey Slater.