Fashion and philanthropy in runway gala, spring luncheon

| May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

Fashion was at the center of charitable giving in April. The annual Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) Debut Runway Show and Gala, celebrating the creativity of select graduating designers, was presented at Santa Monica Barker Hangar on April 6. The hangar was transformed into a visual and audio feast that was the ultimate launching pad for 26 Advanced Design students of fashion, theater costumes and interior design fabrics and furniture. Leaders in the industry flocked, as they do every year, to this gala to seek new talent. Dinner tables lined either side of the runway and guests enjoyed tenderloin filet, wild mushroom timbale, and a dessert of apple crisp vanilla bean ice cream. 

HALLIE FISHER and Barbara Bundy arrive at FIDM DEBUT Show. Photo: Benjamin Shmikler/ABImages

Among the 600 bedazzled and bedecked were Hallie Fisher, FIDM Museum Director Barbara Bundy, Guess, Inc.’s Lausanne Miller, Gustavo Garibay, Christopher Nardi, Claudia Silva, Brooke Merlo and Natali Paziotopoulos, also Center Theatre Group’s Louie Anchondo, fashion designers Kevan Hall with his wife Deborah, Angela Dean and T.J. Walker, (a triple powerhouse partnering on a new label), Sheila Tepper, Susie Goodman, Project Runway star Nick Verreos and husband David Paul, Cindy and Tom Keefer and president of the California Fashion Association Ilse Metchek. 

The event served a dual purpose: giving new and highly gifted designers a platform and raising funds for FIDM’s Scholarship Foundation.

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On the following Tuesday afternoon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, at the 31st annual Colleagues Spring Luncheon, The Colleagues and Oscar de la Renta presented actress, author, and philanthropist Marlo Thomas with the Champion of Children Award, which honors those who have made a lasting impact on the lives of children.

HENRY WINKLER and honoree Marlo Thomas at The Colleagues 31st annual Spring Luncheon and Oscar de la Renta fashion show. Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

Emmy winning actor Henry Winkler gave a rousing introduction of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee and National Outreach Director of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“I went to Memphis, and in the hospital lobby, there was a party with cake, balloons. I asked whose birthday is it? I was told it wasn’t a birthday, but an ‘end chemo’ celebration. Parents applauded the recovery of the young patient while hoping for the same outcome for their own children,” said Ms. Thomas during her acceptance speech. 

Cara Leonetti Esposito, Colleagues president, carries on a legacy begun by this column’s first writer, Lucy Toberman, who founded Children’s Institute, Inc. in 1950. 

SPRING LUNCHEON attendees Shar Penfold and Susan Kneafsey enjoy the Oscar de la Renta show.

“For these children, such as a five-year-old forced to advocate for himself, we are the storm,” said Ms. Esposito, speaking from her heart and gut. She was applauded by a contingent of Hancock Park and Windsor Square ladies including Shar Penfold, Mary Jaworski, Melanie Boettcher, Susan Kneafsey, Karla Ahmanson, Michele McMullin, Jackie Kruse, Laura Collins, Robin Chehrazi, Dina Phillips, Amanda Mansour and Arsine Phillips.

More than 500 guests of The Colleagues were treated to a runway show of Oscar de la Renta’s up-coming Fall Collection and went home with a bottle of the designer’s Bella Rosa Eau de Parfum. All of the proceeds go to The Colleagues’ sole beneficiary, Children’s Institute, Inc., to serve those who suffer from violence, abuse and neglect in the city’s most vulnerable communities.

Fashion and philanthropy, these ladies make it work!

And that’s the chat! 

By Patty Hill

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Category: Entertainment

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