Style takes center stage as The Country Friends nonprofit presents ‘Art of Fashion’ runway fundraiser in Rancho Santa Fe


Designer fashions will dazzle on the runway when The Country Friends presents the Art of Fashion Runway Show, in partnership for the past decade with South Coast Plaza, on Thursday, Sept. 18, at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe.

South Coast Plaza announced the lineup for this year’s show, to include Barbara Bui, Canali, Donna Karan, Faconnable, MaxMara, Oscar de la Renta, Saks Fifth Avenue, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Versace.

“South Coast Plaza is proud to continue this partnership for the 10th consecutive year,” said Debra Gunn Downing, executive director of marketing, South Coast Plaza. “We are honored to support The Country Friends and all the great work they do throughout San Diego County.”

Art of Fashion will begin with the runway show, followed by lunch on The Inn’s lawn, and the opportunity to shop South Coast Plaza mini-boutiques offering the latest in clothing, handbags, jewelry, eyewear and accessories. Participating retailers include Barbara Bui, Donna Karan, Jo Malone, Lanvin, MaxMara, Salvatore Ferragamo, TOD’s, and Versace. The event concludes with “Après Affaire,” a wine, cheese and dessert tasting.

“We are thrilled to have such a fabulous lineup of designers and retailers taking part in this year’s show,” stated Andrea Naversen, Art of Fashion chairwoman. “This year’s event is even more special, because we are celebrating The Country Friends’ 60th Diamond Anniversary, marking six decades of fundraising and fashion.”

The Art of Fashion will honor the 28 women who have been president of The Country Friends since its founding in 1954. The late Dorothy Patton was the organization’s first president; Rhonda Tryon is the current leader. Past presidents include the late Jean S. Newman, longtime manager of The Country Friends Consignment Shop; Marci Cavanaugh, Jeanne Lucia, Jan Fitzpatrick, Karen Moller, Nell Herzer, Christie Wright, Joyce Glazer, Florita Bible, Pat Wood, Karen Weseloh, Mary Ann Fitch, Tari Wood and Joanne Warren.

For the organization’s Diamond Anniversary, Rancho Santa Fe’s John Matty Company has designed a shield-cut diamond necklace with 60 diamonds for the opportunity drawing. Tickets are available on The Country Friends website starting July 2, and at the Sept. 18 event.

Other prizes are a one-week stay in a three-bedroom deluxe ocean view villa at Maui’s exclusive Ho’olei at Grand Wailea with two round-trip unrestricted coach tickets to Maui or anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. A special “Diva” package includes fashion, makeup and hair styling, a photo shoot, and a one-year membership in Garde Robe Luxury Wardrobe Storage & Valet Service. As always, South Coast Plaza designers and retailers are donating a $1,000 shopping spree and valet parking, as well as designer clothing, handbags, jewelry and accessories.

On the 2014 Art of Fashion committee are Donna Ahlstrom, Tamara Banks, Betti Jo Billick, Maggie Bobileff, Judy Burer, Sabrina Cadini, Marci Cavanaugh, Terri Chivetta, Deb Cross, Pam Devaney, Chris Epstein, Sharon Ferges, Rebecca Franks, Joon Fuller, Arline Genis, Megan Hansen, Amber Hodges, Celeste Hudson, Betsy Jones, Jo Ann Kilty, Elaine Leach, Jana Leibo, Jeanne Lucia, Ana Maria McBrayer, Patricia Mogul, Ellen Nakamura, Andrea Naversen, Pearl Padovano, Mia S. Park, Tina Rappaport, Esther Rodriguez, Cheri Salyers, JoLynn Shapiro, Diane Sutherland, Rhonda Tryon, Mercedes Van Buren, Anna Waite, Jean Waters, Laura Wireman, and Shana Witkin.

For tickets, call 858-756-1192, extension 4, visit, or email

The Country Friends®, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, was founded with the mission “Helping San Diegans, One Hand at a Time.” Through fundraisers such as the Art of Fashion and proceeds from its consignment shop on El Tordo in Rancho Santa Fe, The Country Friends this year is raising funds for more than 30 designated charities.