RANCHO SANTA FE — Little did Andrea Naversen know when she attended the Art of Fashion back in 2009 that the Rancho Santa Fe-based nonprofit, The Country Friends, would play an essential role in her life. The veteran newscaster, and now editor-at-large, for the Ranch & Coast Magazine, has been named honorary chair for the 64th annual Art of Fashion event on Sept. 12 at the historic The Inn of Rancho Santa Fe.
The Art of Fashion is a partnership between The Country Friends and South Coast Plaza. This year, the fashion designer spotlight will be shining on Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Max Mara, Versace, Bally, Escada, Moncler, Tory Burch, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
In 2009, it was the late Jean Newman, the beloved consignment manager of The Country Friends, who invited Naversen to sit with her at one of the most sought-after fundraising events of the year. Not only did Naversen become a member of The Country Friends, but she chaired the Art of Fashion the very next year.
And in 2014, she chaired the event once again.
“Fast forward to 2019, and Jean’s daughter, Suzanne, is president of the Country Friends,” Naversen said.
What intrigued Naversen most about The Country Friends was its longevity. It was founded in 1954 by women who wanted to help out in the community — and it has endured.
“I don’t know what the secret sauce is, but I think it’s the women who are committed and they are wonderful,” she said.
When Naversen discovered she was chosen as the 2019 honorary chair, she burst into tears.
“It’s such an honor,” she said. “I follow in some very high heels. Our beloved Maggie Bobileff last year was the honorary chair, and prior to that, it was Jenny Craig.”
Nearly a decade ago, it was Naversen who came up with the idea of choosing an honorary chair for the Art of Fashion. It was a way to honor philanthropic women in the community while also raising extra funds for The Country Friends who have donated more than $14 million to San Diego County-based charities.
Since the word got out about Naversen’s high honor, people have stepped forward with generous donations and sponsorships to celebrate the occasion.
“We are proud and privileged to honor Andrea Naversen for her enthusiastic and tireless support of The Country Friends and our mission to help those in need here in San Diego County,” Suzanne Newman, The Country Friends board president, said. “Andrea is a force of nature who graciously provides support and guidance to all in our community. We are blessed, not only to honor Andrea but, to call her one of our own.”
According to 2019 Art of Fashion co-chair Elaine Kaminski Becerra, Naversen was the right choice.
“Not only because she deserves to be recognized for all the work she has done for the community over her lifetime, but also for her special dedication to The Country Friends,” Becerra said. “We are also thrilled because even though our goal is to honor her, Andrea has been able to bring in an incredible number of supporters who joined our Patron Committee to add even more to our fundraising efforts, at $1,500 a couple. Having these additional funds to help our community fills our hearts with appreciation and gratefulness and it is a reflection of how much Andrea’s community of friends and family care to help us make Andrea feel appreciated as our 2019 Art of Fashion honoree.”
The historic Inn at Rancho Santa has been the venue and event sponsor for the Art of Fashion for years. When General Manager Jerome Strack discovered that Naversen was named 2019 honoree, he thought it was a fitting choice.
“The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is honored to be associated with The Country Friends and pleased that they continue to have the Art of Fashion here,” he said. “This year’s honoree, Andrea Naversen, is in my mind the most deserving person because she does so much for the community and The Country Friends.”
To learn more about the 64th annual Art of Fashion including ticket sales, sponsorships, and more, call (858) 756-1192 or visit TheCountryFriends.org.
Photo Caption: The Country Friends board President Suzanne Newman, 2019 Art of Fashion Honorary Chair Andrea Naversen, and General Manager Jerome Strack at the Inn of Rancho Santa Fe ready for 64th annual Art of Fashion slated for Sept. 12. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene