The Country Friends to honor Sally Thornton at Art of Fashion runway show in Rancho Santa Fe

Sally Thornton

The Country Friends will honor the late Sally B. Thornton at this year’s Art of Fashion, the annual luncheon and runway show presented Sept. 17 in partnership with South Coast Plaza at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.

“Mrs. Thornton, a longtime supporter of The Country Friends, is being honored for her commitment to fashion and philanthropy,” said Deb Cross, president of The Country Friends.

Sally B. Thornton was an author, businesswoman, philanthropist and a life member of The Country Friends since 1970. For many years, she hosted friends at the Art of Fashion runway show and treated them to lunch at Mille Fleurs. Known for her sharp intellect and keen wit, she also loved fashion and always dressed impeccably.

The owner of Temecula’s Thornton Winery with her husband, John, and son, Steve, Sally Thornton hosted the winery’s summer Champagne Jazz Series, which draws top talent from around the nation. She also served on the boards of such high-tech companies as Micom Systems, Solectek, Mitek Systems and as chair of the Medical Materials Corp.

She was best known for giving back to the community. UC San Diego’s Thornton Hospital bears the family’s name, and the Sally B. Thornton Foundation supports dozens of charitable organizations. She sat on the boards of many nonprofits, chaired countless galas and fundraisers, and earned many accolades.

“The Country Friends is saddened by Sally’s passing, grateful for her support, and honored to celebrate her life,” said Pat O’Connor, chair of the 2015 Art of Fashion.

This year’s event, emceed by KUSI’s Sandra Maas, begins with Avant Affaire, a Champagne-and-sweets tasting with Moët & Chandon and ’Lette Macarons, and a “pink carpet” photo lounge.

The highlight of the day follows — a fashion show by South Coast Plaza featuring the fall/winter collections of Barbara Bui, Donna Karan, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, M Missoni, Max Mara, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace. The presentation by the luxury shopping destination is the only one of its kind in San Diego County.

After the show, guests will enjoy luncheon on the lawn at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe with a special menu by Executive Chef Brian Black. The Art of Fashion concludes with Après Affaire, offering wine samplings from Central Valley vintners Bon Affair, Brander and Gainey, and sweets from Michele Coulon Dessertier and Paradise Produce Market.

Throughout the day, South Coast Plaza designer boutiques brought in especially for the occasion will offer fall/winter must-haves in ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry, eyewear, and more. A portion of sales from participating retailers benefits The Country Friends.

This year’s event will raise funds for more than 30 San Diego County charities, including Angel’s Depot, Armed Services YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Burn Institute, Canine Companions, Hospice of The North Coast, Mama’s Kitchen, Pro Kids The First Tee of San Diego, Promises2Kids, Ronald McDonald House Charities, San Diego Brain Injury Foundation, and many more.

“Thanks to our sponsors’ generosity, The Country Friends will be able to fund much-needed programs serving thousands of people throughout San Diego County,” noted O’Connor.

The 2015 Art of Fashion Honorary Committee members are Deb and Les Cross, Barbara Kruer, Lisa Alvarez, Jenny Craig, Charlie and Terri Chivetta, Andrea Naversen, Kim Quinn, Anna Waite, Patricia Mogul, Betsy Jones, Elaine Leach, Marjan Daneshmand, Jo Ann Kilty, Betty Beyster, Stephanie J. Gruenert, Ann and Mike Plunkett, Debra Emerson, Lee Goldberg, Alphatec Spine.

A live auction, helmed by Clint Bell, will include such packages as:

• Private jet for four to Napa Valley’s Calistoga Ranch Resort, including a VIP tasting and tour of Clos Du Val Estate Vineyard

• Weekend meditation retreat at The Chopra Center at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

• Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica three-night getaway

• The Fairmont Grand Del Mar one-night stay and round of golf for two

• Park Hyatt Aviara Resort two-night stay with dinner and spa treatments.

Opportunity prizes include a $2,000 gift certificate from Oscar de la Renta as well as clothing, jewelry and accessories from South Coast Plaza designers and retailers, travel packages and more.

Members of the 2015 Art of Fashion Runway Show Committee are Donna Ahlstrom, Anna Allen, Betty Jo Billick, Maggie Bobileff, Jennifer Bousquet, Dorothy Brasher, Sabrina Cadini, Marci Cavanaugh, Terri Chivetta, Lynda Costa, Deb Cross, , Aleksandra Drake, Chris Epstein, Rebecca Franks, Eileen Haligowski, Alexandra Harbushka, Rosemary Harbushka, Lorraine Hennessy, Amber Persia Hodges, Betsy Jones, Erin Kaminski, Elaine Leach, Jana Leibo, Jeanne Lucia, Ana Maria McBrayer, Patricia Mogul, Andrea Naversen, Mia Park, Jody Pinchin, Kim Quinn, Esther Rodriguez, Niki Rushin, Cheri Salyers, JoLynn Shapiro, Jamie Smart, Diane Sutherland, Rhonda Tryon, Deena Von Yokes, Jean Waters, Suzy Westphal, Laura White, Laura Wireman, and Bonnie Wright.

For tickets, information, or to become an Art of Fashion sponsor, call 858-756-1192, ext. 4, or email