South Coast Plaza joins Country Friends again for annual ‘Art of Fashion’ show in Rancho Santa Fe

The Country Friends celebrates 61 years of philanthropy and fashion this fall when the organization presents the annual “Art of Fashion” on Sept. 17 at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.

The nonprofit announced recently that it is honored to partner for the 11th straight year with South Coast Plaza, an international destination known for luxury shopping, personal service, and upscale amenities. Proceeds from the fashion show and luncheon, featuring boutique shopping and the Après Affaire wine tasting, benefit 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.

The Country Friends President Deborah Cross also announced that Pat O’Connor will serve as this year’s “Art of Fashion” chairwoman. O’Connor has been involved in the fashion world in San Diego since 1969, teaching the fashion program at Patricia Stevens for nine years and founding Fashion Careers College in 1979. She has also created and chaired many charitable fashion events, including The Golden Hanger Fashion Awards Gala, “Art of Fashion” at the Timken Museum, and San Diego History Center’s “Fashion: Past, Present and Future.”

O’Connor is very excited to be involved in this event. “I look forward to working with such an admirable charity, The Country Friends,” she said.

“Art of Fashion” will honor international fashion icon Zandra Rhodes. The Del Mar resident was one of the new wave of British designers who put London at the forefront of the international fashion scene in the 1970s. She has designed for clients as diverse as Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, and Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen, and continues to clothe and design for the rich and famous around the world, from royalty to rock stars including Bianca Jagger, Kylie Minogue, Anastasia, and the late Joan Rivers and Isabella Blow. Rhodes was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1997 in recognition of her contribution to fashion and textiles, and has nine Honorary Doctorates from universities in both the UK and USA. This past February, Rhodes was honored by Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace.

“Art of Fashion” will begin with the runway show, highlighting the 2015 Fall/Winter collections of South Coast Plaza’s renowned international designers and retailers, followed by a luncheon and the opportunity to shop South Coast Plaza mini-boutiques offering the latest in clothing, handbags, jewelry, eyewear, and accessories. The event concludes with wine and dessert at Après Affaire.

The historical Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, which completed a $12 million renovation in 2012, including a new restaurant and spa, once again serves as the venue for this annual fall homage to fundraising and fashion.

For information, or to become an Art of Fashion sponsor, contact The Country Friends at 858-756-1192, Ext. 4, or email