DEL MAR — What will the best-dressed women and men be wearing around town this spring and to the races come summer?
About 75 participants at a sold-out fundraiser March 28 discovered just that while also enjoying lunch at Flavor Del Mar and helping to raise money for Operation Rebound, a sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.
“Color is the big thing for spring,” Peaches en Regalia owner and buyer Patricia Straight said. “Canary yellow, the turquoise and sapphire blues. Grass green is popular this season.”
When it comes to fabrics, it’s all about pure luxury and soft neutrals, Straight said. “Fine leathers are washed and aged. For denim, there’s an excitement in colors, like pear and papaya. They’re using lots of chiffon, cotton and modals.”
Accessories are also all about “color, color, color,” Straight said. “Sometimes there’s added crystals, woven fabric and metallic in handbags for extra color.
“For women, it’s dresses, dresses, dresses — from the short-short to maxi,” she said. “And there’s a newness in the prints.
“Men’s shirts are two-tone colors in the cuffs and collars,” she said. “We’re seeing tilted buttons with diagonal seam detail and laser-cut fabrics.
“Stripes, plaids and florals — things we’re used to seeing in women’s fashion — are being added to menswear with a masculine look. You really have to see it all to understand it.”
Despite its name, White House/Black Market is also offering color this season. “Big, bold, floral prints and geometric designs with different variations of pink,” store manager Lili Haggerty said.
“It’s that universal pink that goes with every skin tone,” she said. “It was big at fashion week in London.
“Dresses are fun and flirty with surprise details like dual-colored accessories,” she said. “They’re using soft chiffons and pleated designs. Ankle-length and boot-cut pants are in for spring.”
When race season begins, look for big hats, of course, Haggerty said, and strappy high-heeled shoes.
Fundraiser attendees got a firsthand look at these fashions and more, but without the traditional runway show. Models stopped at each table to describe their outfits from plaza boutiques such as Peaches en Regalia, White House/Black Market, Sunglass Hut and Saratoga Saddlery.
Tickets were $35. Operation Rebound, which is part of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, received a portion of the ticket sales and 100 percent of tickets sold for an opportunity drawing that featured gifts from Cirque du Soleil, fashion show participants and other Del Mar Plaza retailers such as Urban Girl Accessories, Garys Studio, Chico’s, Shimbashi Izakaya, Del Mar Rendezvous, Smashburger, Pacifica Del Mar and Michael Seewald Galleries.
Also on hand was Lance Cpl. Lance Weir, an emerging athlete who medaled at the 2011 All-Marine Warrior Games as a member of the air rifle team.
“Operation Rebound has changed my life,” said Weir, who used to play football, basketball and tennis. “I was a college athlete and assumed all that was over after my injury.
“I was hesitant at first because things were different, but now I get to travel and meet great people,” he said. “But being from Arkansas, being rewarded for shooting a rifle is like a mermaid winning a swimming contest.”
Nico Marcolongo said the event is a great example of the community supporting “what our men are doing.”
“The Challenged Athletes Foundation helps them lead an active lifestyle,” he said. “We want to bring our troops from the front line to the finish line.”